DR Congo

DRC: Women in Kinshasa demonstrate against cannibalism

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KINSAHASA, 5 February (IRIN) - Traffic came to a halt along Boulevard du 30 juin, Kinshasa's main thoroughfare, on Tuesday as some 300 women held a prayer vigil in protest against acts of cannibalism reported recently in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
"We are disturbing traffic, and by this action we want to let the belligerents [in the country's civil war] know that the Congolese people are suffering," Chantale Kifongo Malamba, one of the demonstrators, said.

She is a member of a women's group called Concours des femmes congolaises, created during the inter-Congolese dialogue held in South Africa in April 2002. The groups, respresenting women from different social backgrounds, formed the body to pressure belligerents into abiding by their pact and into agreeing to share power.

The group wants the warring factions in DRC's civil war to respect the ceasefire accord they signed on 17 December 2002 in the South African administrative capital, Pretoria, and end their acts of brutality. "We condemn all crimes and cannibalism, no matter who committed them," Malamba said.

"We want an international criminal tribunal established, and even local proceedings against all these dreadful crimes," Marceline Ndaya Saleh, president of Les femmes ressotissantes de la province du Maniema, said.

In a recent provisional report, the UN Mission in the DRC named the Mouvement de liberation du Congo and its ally, the Rassemblement Congolais pour la democratie-National, of engaging in cannibalism in the northeastern district of Ituri. Members of another group, Les femmes de la zone de l'Ituri, has also accused the RCD-Kisangani/Mouvement de liberation, allied to the government since April 2002, of perpetrating cannibalism in the same area.

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