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Calm returns to mbandaka, after a violent sunday

MISNA - July 4, 2005 7:42 PM

Calm is slowly returning to Mbandaka, after a Sunday marred by violence and looting perpetrated by the new unified Congolese army. MISNA sources say that there may be up to 2 dead, some say 4, while a much higher number of people were wounded. The city seems calm even if some gunfire can still be heard, said one source. Rurmors that 4 nuns were kidnapped turned out to be unfounded. The violence started yesterday, when some military units looted houses, shops and perepterated various indiscriminate violence aginst people on the street causing panic in what has been one of the clamest cities in the country. Other soldiers intervened to lead the soldiers involved in the violence to the barracks. The soldiers were said to be releasing their frustration after one of their fellow soldiers was killed the previous night. MISNA sources suggest that last Saturday night a group of uniformed men was trying to take advanathge of some women, when two passers by intervened responding to cries for help forcing the aggressors to flee. One of the soldiers died during the altercation. It is not clear who the soldiers involved were, but some believe them to be former members of active rebel groups, which were incorporated in the regular forces as part of the disarmament agreements. According to some sources, the soldiers belong to the Mayi Mayi (anti-Rwandan Congolese partisans acting in Kivu), while others suggest the soldiers were formerly active in near the Ugandan border.

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