UN report details Congo carnage, warns of 'ethnic cleansing'

GENEVA (AP) — U.N. human rights investigators today warned of ethnic cleansing in central Congo, documenting the recent killings of more than 250 people, including 62 children, in violence with "no good guys and bad guys."

The investigators based their new report on interviews in June of 96 people who fled Congo's Kasai provinces into neighboring Angola over the three previous months. It decried alleged violence involving a recently formed militia, Bana Mura, backed by Congolese security officials.

The office provided photos of survivors with dismembered limbs and deep scars. In a statement, the U.N. human rights chief described accounts of "the screams of people being burned alive" and others who were "cut down."

The report provides a snapshot of the violence that erupted in the once-calm region a year ago. The U.N. has estimated the existence of 80 mass graves there. At least 1.3 million people have been internally displaced, and at least 40,000 have fled to Angola.

U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein urged Congo's government to "act now to prevent such violence from tipping into wider ethnic cleansing."

His office called on militia groups to lay down their weapons.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York that the issues raised in the report are "regularly brought up to the government's attention" by the U.N. peacekeeping mission and the human rights office in Congo. He said that "in drafting the report it was shared with the Congolese authorities."

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