Violence, killings and massacres like the ones described above have been going on for ten years in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), seemingly unnoticed by the international community. In August 2002 the BBC reported that UN observers recently discovered several mass graves in Ituri Province of north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; the one-minute update, telling of scores of bodies found hacked to pieces by machete was buried behind news of roiled stock markets and new peace talks in the Middle East. The victims in Ituri remained unnamed, the perpetrators anonymous. Few newspapers in Europe bothered to note the story. It was an unusual drop of attention, and by the next day it had completely disappeared.
Massacres, mass rape and displacement in the DRC have long since ceased to be news for the rest of the world. If anything, it was a surprise that this incident made it to the BBC's back pages.
© Chris Keulen
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The ten-year war has yielded inhuman levels of violence. The International Rescue Committee calculated that the war had caused, directly or indirectly, 2.5 million deaths between August 1998 and April 2001. In some areas surveyed, they calculated that 75% of the children never made it to their second birthday.