OCTOBER 14, 2009: Rebel Raids 'Spreading in Congo'

Rebel Raids 'Spreading in Congo'


The situation in northern Democratic Republic of Congo where Lord's Resistance Army rebels operate is getting worse, a medical charity says.

Medecins Sans Frontieres told the BBC hundred of thousands of people are fleeing renewed rebel attacks.

LRA leader Joseph Kony once operated from Uganda but his fighters now cover a vast area of central Africa.

Analysts says attempts this year by regional armed forces to halt the brutal campaign have so far failed.

The rebels are infamous for carrying out mutilations, kidnappings and rapes.

Tens of thousands of people have died and many more have been made homeless during the LRA's two-decade insurgency.

'Living in fear'

MSF says roads are now so insecure that aircraft are being used to take supplies and staff to remote locations.

"The situation is really bad: the people are living in constant fear, they're fleeing," MSF's Operational Director Meine Nicolai told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

"The violence pops up in different areas and it's really expanding. It came to Congo in 2008 and now it's going more and more eastwards so the area is expanding and people live in constant fear."

Ms Nicolai said civilians were clearly being targeted.

"People are kidnapped, raped, their houses are burned ; they're fleeing, they leave everything and there's no way that they can return."

Reports from the region suggest there are several groups of LRA fighters: some in DR Congo and another of about 1,300 in the Central African Republic, led by one of Mr Kony's deputies.

Mr Kony himself is reportedly moving northwards...

For the full story, please see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8306693.stm