I generally prefer Congo to be out of the news as most news is bad news.  Beyond the ongoing confirmation of the general election being delayed, three items caught my attention this week.  All made my heart sink for the people of Congo.

Seventy-eight homes were burned down in remote northeast Democratic Republic Congo in a feud between two villages over accusations of mass poisoning, a local leader said Monday.  Men from the village of Umoyo last Tuesday ransacked the village of Jupanduru and torched 78 homes, said Jean-Pierre Ukethmwu, a local chief.  “The situation here in Jupanduru is dramatic. The village’s two schools are afraid of opening and the population has fled,” he told AFP.  The two villages lie in the district of Mahagi, about 200km north of the Bunia, a city lying on DR Congo’s troubled eastern border with Uganda.  Ukethmwu said villagers in Umoyo suspected people in Jupanduru of having poisoned food that was served for a wake. Two people reportedly died and 32 needed hospitalisation.  http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/10/16/homes-torched-village-feud-dr-congo

A woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo was publicly raped, whipped and decapitated in front of a cheering crowd after serving ‘forbidden fish’ to a group of anti-government rebels, who later drank her blood. The woman being punished was accused of serving forbidden fish to rebels who visited her restaurant.  ‘They said she gave them beans that contained pieces of a small, local fish,’ a Luebo resident told France 24.  The resident added: ‘Convinced that she had broken their protection charms, the council of rebels led by a man named Kabata sentenced both the woman and the son of her husband’s second wife [the young man was also working there that day] to commit incest in public.’ Rebel leaders force the woman to have sex with the son of her husband’s second wife, and another woman is seen whipping the pair with branches. The killing sparked violence that has escalated, including gross alleged violations such as rapes, torture and the use of child soldiers. Refugees have given harrowing accounts of the violence in the central region, which the UN warned had taken on ‘an increasing and disturbing ethnic dimension’.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4965886/Woman-executed-rebels-Democratic-Republic-Congo.html

Video has emerged of Arabic speaking men with machine guns calling for jihad in Congo, something the population just doesn’t need right now.  While the ADF is an Islamic group that has been creating trouble for some time, this is the first video purposely and unabashedly distributed by Muslims calling for jihad in eastern Congo from within Congo.  It was produced by a group known as Madinat Tawhis wa-l-Muwahdin  (MTM – the city of monotheism and monetheists).  The nearby Virunga National Park has been sheltering rebels of all kinds for years and the MTM are believed to be active in Virunga now, likely invited by and working with the ADF.  htttp://www.politico.cd/actualite/la-une/2017/10/15/video-attribuee-groupe-etat-islamique-appelle-djihad-lest-de-rdc.html#c8MTI11fLIRdlWRA.99