Friday, February 13, 2009

What Happened at Camp Kasiki?

ASADHO wants to know. The 74 ex-combatants and their 94 dependents were assembled at Camp Kasiki, located 200 kilometers southwest of Butembo, awaiting repatriation to Rwanda. But they disappeared overnight on February 8, two days before they were to be repatriated, leaving behind their animals, clothes, blankets, and even their eating utensils.

No one has any idea what happened to these people or knows where they are now. ASADHO is worried that they were "victims of reprisals of an armed group currently active in eastern Congo." It is asking the DRC government to investigate and for MONUC to assist in that investigation.

This brings back bad memories. During the 1996-97 war, I first began to hear of massacres begin committed by Rwandan troops from religious and refugee agencies. The relief workers would discover small groups of Hutu refugees in remote areas and radio in their location to their agency's headquarters, to arrange for the refugees' rescue and eventual repatriation to Rwanda. But when the trucks arrived, the refugees would have disappeared, leaving behind their goods and traces of violence. The relief agencies eventually realized their radio transmissions were being intercepted by the Rwandan army. They could only speculate about what had happened to the refugees.

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