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General News    H2'ed 2/28/17

Ambassador Nikki Haley Has Unique Opportunity After Congo Massacres

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63 Percent Increase in Killings
63 Percent Increase in Killings
(Image by Human Rights Watch)
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"If they want proof they should come and collect the dead bodies."

The YouTube video posted on February 17, 2017, shows men in Congolese army uniforms fatally shooting a group of villagers. A close look at the grainy footage shows that the victims are carrying slingshots, machetes and spears as as they are mowed down by machine gun fire.

The United States reacted through Obama era holdover and State Department interim spokesperson Mark Toner, "The United States is deeply concerned about the images that appear to show elements of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) carrying out executions of civilians summarily, including women and children."

"Appear," "alleged," and outright denial is the de rigueur response when the innocent are targeted in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is too much at stake in the mineral rich country and human life is too often not part of the economic equation.

Of course, Lambert Mende, Congo's information minister, denied the authenticity of this video, saying it was filmed elsewhere. This, despite the camera point of view being directly behind the shooters. Allegedly, the group of villagers included members of the Kamuina Nsapu militia (more about this "militia" later), including two women and several children. I do not enjoy examining footage of atrocity, so here is what Human Rights Watch(HRW) has to say about the images. "Several of the seriously wounded are shot at point-blank range, as one of the soldiers calls them 'animals.' Some of the soldiers later mistreat and violate the dignity of the bodies."

Personally, I feel the animals are in the eye of the beholder or the slant of the news.

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

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