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DR Congo: Ethnic killings may turn into crimes against humanity, UN warns

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The United Nations has warned that the sparkle of ethnic killings in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo may amount to crimes against humanity with a possible genocide.

The warning came after the recent series of clashes between the Hema herders and Lendu farmers, two rival groups that have been in conflict over grazing rights and political representation for years.

The attacks are usually commenced by Lendu who constantly attempt to clear their said-to-be-ancestral lands of the ‘foreigners.’

“The barbarity that characterises these attacks, including the beheading of women and children with machetes, the dismemberment and removal of body parts of the victims as trophies of war, reflects the desire of the attackers to inflict lasting trauma to the Hema communities and to force them to flee and not return to their villages,” the UN report reads.

In the three-year period, the skirmishes between the sides have killed at least 701 people and injured dozens more.

The international organisation urged the local authorities to conduct an investigation into the matter and bring the conflict to an end.

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