Friday 23 January 2009

Congo - a glimmer of hope? + a deadly anniversary

News that General Laurent Nkunda, leader of one of the main rebel groups fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been arrested. Nkunda, a Tutsi, had helped protect Rwanda against attacks by Hutus who had fled to the Congo after being driven out by the Rwandan Patriotic Front in 1994.

The RPF put a stop to the Rwandan genocide by Hutu extremists that killed 800,000 people – mainly Tutsis – in just 100 days. The Rwandan government has been accused of backing the general, but it now seems to have turned against him. It remains to be seen whether the arrest will help end a conflict that has seen up to five million people killed.

On this day.....453 years ago. On January 23, 1556, China suffered one of the world’s deadliest earthquakes. From its epicentre in Shaanxi, it devastated ten provinces and claimed about 830,000 victims – many of them people who lived in caves they had dug out of the soft earth.

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