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DRC Update From Ground: "Ay Ay Ay, This is Grave!"

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European Union Press Conference on DRC Situation/ MONUC/Photo Ado Abdou

NOTE: This email was received from a Congolese war correspondent with 30 years of experience. Meanwhile, still nothing in US media.

"Hi Georgianne,

What I can said? Did you really believe, or the SD (State Department) expert, that the shortage of alll kind of medicaments in the hospital, in a capital of nearly 10 million inhabitants, is due to 47 wounded people....

Ay ay ay...This is grave

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MONUC (internal) estimation, over 400 dead and 1,500 heavy wounded...
We have see the images from Congolese hospitals, the four main, and where they are from over 100 others ...
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Best Regards
At a press conference in Kinshasa this Tuesday March 27 2007, the representatives of the European Union countries to the DRC expressed their ‘indignation’ at the recourse to the violent armed Kinshasa conflict of March 22 to 25 2007, ‘when all routes to dialogue were not yet exhausted.’ German ambassador Karl Albrecht Wokalek said the death toll ‘could reach 600.’

In a statement, they deplored the loss of life, in particular that of civilians, as the Congolese Armed Forces - the FARDC - took to the streets of Kinshasa against ex vice president J.P. Bemba’s guards in the two day conflict that paralysed the DRC capital, causing much destruction and loss of life.

Furthermore, the European Union (EU) heads ‘condemned the numerous cases of looting and rape committed by troops from both camps’ during the conflict.

In the political sphere, the EU ambassadors stressed the importance for the authorities to ‘ensure the existence of a democratic space, in order to guarantee free expression to all political opinions.’

UK ambassador Andy Sparkes said that they were there to show their ‘solidarity with the Congolese people,’ who had ‘suffered much’ from the conflict.

“There remains a war spirit in the country, which is a bit like malaria. We thought we had healed the country with a big dose of quinine, with the holding of free and transparent elections last year, but this war spirit has returned.”

For the ‘well being of the Congolese people,’ he stressed that it was necessary to eradicate this ‘war spirit’.

“I find this recourse to violence irresponsible, it shows that this war spirit remains, and it needs to be replaced by a spirit of reconciliation and inclusiveness. This is the only way forward for stability in the country.”

The ‘BIAC’ bank building on Kinshasa’s main boulevard, which houses the Greek and Spanish embassies, as well as UNICEF offices, was directly hit by mortar and light arms fire during the violence. The Italian ambassador's Kinshasa residence was also looted.

On this subject, the ambassadors were forthright in their views.

Greek ambassador Ioannis Christofilis deplored what he termed was a ‘direct attack which broke the Vienna convention’ on diplomatic relations.

“This was a direct attack, with heavy arms, not only on the Greek flag and embassy, but the Spanish embassy, as well as UNICEF, who work here for your (Congolese) children, and the BIAC bank, who are working here for the economic development of this country.”

He added that the DRC government had expressed its regret, and has promised a full enquiry into the events.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill (more...)

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