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Troops attack refugees at Congo camp

A girl displaced by fighting waited for aid yesterday at the village of Ntamugenga in Congo. Years of sporadic violence have intensified. A girl displaced by fighting waited for aid yesterday at the village of Ntamugenga in Congo. Years of sporadic violence have intensified. (Finbarr O'Reilly/ Reuters)
November 25, 2008
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KIBATI, Congo - Soldiers went on an overnight looting and shooting spree in a Congolese refugee camp, stealing from hungry and traumatized people who have fled fighting in the country's east, witnesses said yesterday.

They said one woman was killed by a stray bullet Sunday night in Kibati, a village north of the eastern provincial capital of Goma that has been overrun by about 70,000 refugees.

Patrice Sebahunde, 60, said he was awakened at 10 p.m. by four soldiers pointing guns in his face. They took his family's food, clothes, and their plastic water bucket. "They came up, pointed a gun at me, and said, 'Wake up, wake up, give us money and everything you have,' " Sebahunde said.

Bernard Udafuye said his house also was looted by soldiers Sunday night who stole food and a bucket. But he did not blame them, saying the soldiers are hungry.

Witnesses to the looting said the soldiers shot in the air, and that one stray bullet hit a 45-year-old woman in the head, killing her instantly. A 20-year-old woman was killed at Kibati on Thursday night when a bullet pierced her tent and hit her.

UN refugee officials who had reported Thursday's shooting said they had no information about any violence Sunday. But at least 10 witnesses who spoke separately to the Associated Press told the same story.

Years of sporadic violence in eastern Congo intensified in August, and about 250,000 people have fled their homes to escape combat between the army and fighters loyal to rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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