7 October 2003 The United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has discovered 65 bodies, mostly children, apparently massacred Monday, a UN spokesman said today.
“From the evidence gathered, a group of Lendu, believed to be from nearby villages, armed with rifles and machetes, attacked Kashele early” Monday morning, the spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said at a press briefing.
A unit from the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), alerted by local combatants, found 23 bodies in a local church and the others in a mass grave, Mr. Eckhard added. Most of the dead were children. Some 20 other persons were wounded and are being treated in local hospitals.
Mr. Eckhard said MONUC had sent a contingent of Pakistani soldiers to Kashele to investigate the massacre and search for weapons.
Two weeks ago, Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised “positive developments” in the DRC, including the establishment of a Government of National Unity and Transition. He had convened a meeting of the leaders of countries in the region, who pledged to work together for peace.