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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 March, 2004, 19:38 GMT
Thousands flee homes in DR Congo
Katanga province military commander General Alengbia Nzambe, with pictures of mutilated soldiers
Officers have pictures of colleagues mutilated in attacks last month
Thousands of villagers have fled their homes in southern Democratic Republic of Congo following factional fighting, aid agencies have said.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) spokesperson in Kinshasa Kate de Rivero says some 29,000 people have fled their homes in Katanga province.

Armed militia groups conducted a series of massacres around the province a month ago.

At least 100 people - mostly unarmed civilians - were killed in a wave of horrific attacks which included mutilation of body parts.

'The ripper'

Ms Rivero says MSF have only managed to contact about 9,000 residents who have taken shelter in the bush.

She said continued fighting in the area is preventing the organisation from reaching those who have been affected by the violence.

The attacks are blamed on a militia led by a man known as General "Chinja Chinja" or the Ripper.

Congolese military officials say that he is the last remaining militia leader in the north of Katanga province who is unwilling to integrate into the country's new army.

Correspondents say that many fighters believe that using the body parts of their victims to make charms will make them more powerful.

After five years of war, former rebel forces are being merged into a new united army under a peace deal.

Some 10,000 United Nations peacekeepers are in DR Congo to monitor a peace accord but they have not been sent to the scene of the atrocities.




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