Two children die in Ukraine camp fire

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at a children’s camp in Odessa on September 16, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 16 September 2017
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Two children die in Ukraine camp fire

KIEV: A fire swept through a children’s camp in Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa, killing two girls and leaving a third one missing, the authorities said on Saturday.
The fire broke out late Friday in the camp’s wooden two-story building where children slept in the resort city of Odessa some 440 kilometers (south of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the emergencies state service said.
After the blaze was put out three girls aged between 8 and 12 were unaccounted for and later “fragments of two burned children’s bodies were found” during work to clear away the debris, the service said in a statement.
The search for a third missing child was under way.
Two more children were hospitalized, added the service, noting that the cause of the fire has yet to be established.
Police said they had opened a criminal case into the blaze.
Deadly fires are common in Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries owing to outdated infrastructure and a lax approach to fire safety.
In May 2016, a fire killed 17 people in a privately-run care home for the elderly outside Kiev, while in 2011 another blaze left 16 people dead in another home in Ukraine’s northwest Rivne region.


At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

Updated 17 June 2019
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At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

  • A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation
  • Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.
A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.
Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease.
Tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups in late 2017 and early 2018 killed hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, but a tenuous calm had taken hold until this month.
Pascal Kakoraki Baguma, a national lawmaker from Ituri, said the latest violence was sparked by the killing last Monday of four Lendu businesspeople.
“Members of the Lendu community believed that these assassinations were the work of the Hema,” Kakoraki said. “This is why they launched several attacks on Hema villages.”
“Sources affirm that 161 bodies have been found so far. But the death toll goes beyond the bodies recovered, as there were other massacres of civilians and police officers,” he said.
Jean Bosco Lalo, president of civil society organizations in Ituri, said 200 bodies had been found since last week in predominantly Hema villages, including the 161 mentioned by Kakoraki. Lalo said the toll would rise once his teams gained access to other villages where killings had been reported.
Ituri Governor Jean Bamanisa said provincial authorities were still working to establish the exact death toll and declined to say who was responsible.
He said the assailants’ tactics were to “empty out the villages, burn them and pursue those who had fled to the surrounding areas with bladed weapons.”
Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January, is trying to restore stability to the country’s eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of conflict among armed groups over ethnicity, natural resources and political power.
Several rebel leaders have surrendered or been captured during his first months in office, but armed violence has persisted, particularly in North Kivu province, south of Ituri, which is the epicenter of a 10-month Ebola outbreak.