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Tuesday, November 24, 1998 Published at 00:02 GMT

World: Africa

Civilian atrocities in Congo condemned

Amnesty documents massacres carried out by government soldiers

Amnesty International has accused both sides in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo of committing atrocities against unarmed civilians.

A report by the human rights organisation says that since the beginning of August, thousands of people have been massacred, raped or abducted.

It also says both sides have been recruiting child soldiers.

At least six foreign armies are now embroiled in the war in Congo.

Amnesty has appealed to foreign governments to stop supplying weapons to the warring parties, which they say could fuel further atrocities.

Ethnic incitement

[ image: Rebels are also accused of atrocities]
Rebels are also accused of atrocities
Amnesty accuses the Congolese authorities and the state-run media of making inflammatory statements that have incited government supporters to attack Tutsi civilians purely on the basis of their ethnic origin.

It also documents massacres which it says were carried out by government soldiers and their supporters.

It says that in mid-August at least 77 unarmed Tutsi civilians were killed in the eastern town of Kalemie, and another 100 in the village of Viura near Moba.

Nuns massacred

Amnesty also details abuses by rebel fighters and their supporters - including the Rwandan army.

It says that in late-August, rebels massacred hundreds of people in the parish of Kasika, apparently in revenge for the death of about 50 rebel soldiers.

Amnesty says the Kasika dead included three nuns, a priest, 37 worshippers who were gunned down inside a Roman Catholic church and a pregnant woman who had had her stomach cut open.

Amnesty says it has also received reports that 57 women were raped by rebel forces near the town of Bukavu in early September.

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