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|December 11, 2008|
I am in CongoDear Friends
I am writing this blog from Congo. Since 2006, at least 5 million people have perished here as a result of the unstemmed violence.
On November 4th and 5th, in Kiwanja, a town I visited today, ( very near Goma where I am right now) there was a massacre in which 150 civilians were slaughtered, execution style by Tutsi rebels led by Laurent Nkunda.
People here are tense, even here in Goma, as the fighting -between Nkunda's rebel ground and Congolese government forces- took place at the very edge of the city. Outside the city people told me they are terrified-loved ones disappear in the night. They awaken to the sound of gunfire. (The children are to afraid even to go to school as they fear they will be abducted by rebel militia or raped). This is a failed state if ever there was one-a lawless place torn apart by violence. At the gates of UN peacekeepers' barracks, thousands of people
are clustered in a makeshift camp. Although the peacekeeping operation (MONUC) has not provided adequate security, their presence is all there is for this traumatized population. Outside the gates I saw children literally starving to death.
I will send blogs when possible.