NGOs: Congo could face civil war again

NGOs are warning that the Democratic Republic of Congo could slide back into civil war while international attention is diverted elsewhere.

A poll of NGOs by humanitarian news network Alert Net has found rising concern that the country's fragile peace process could be unravelling while the spotlight remains on high-profile troublespots such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur.

Caroline Nursey, Oxfam's regional director for East, Central and the Horn of Africa, said: "Attacks on civilians, looting of villages, raping of women and forced recruitment of child soldiers are reported nearly every day."

A peace deal in 2003, which brought to power a transitional government containing members of former rebel groups and opposition politicians, appeared to end the five-year civil war. But NGOs say that a resumption of fighting between two of the armed groups could destroy the peace process.

"We need more troops there," said Christian Aid's international editor Judith Melby.

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