The death toll from killings of suspected sorcerers in Ituri province in northeastern DRC has doubled from previous estimates to some 843 people as reports of more killings arrive from remote areas, a Ugandan army officer told Reuters on Wednesday. "The death toll has reached 843," military intelligence Captain Alfred Opio was quoted as saying. "I was in Aru [Ituri province] on Monday, and those are the figures I got from the governor." Maj.
Bule Bangulu Mohamed, governor of Ituri province, is currently heading a commission of inquiry into the massacres, rebel-controlled Radio Candip reported on Wednesday.
According to Reuters, Opio reported a death toll of 394 on 4 July from killings carried out in June. Opio said nearly 150 suspected killers had been arrested in a joint operation by local police and the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF), which maintains a strong presence in this part of the DRC.
"They are being held in a prison in Aru," Reuters quoted Opio as saying.
"They say they were instructed by their chiefs to do the killing." In the village of Zaki, northwest of Aru, where 175 people were reported killed, dozens of bodies had been tossed into pit latrines, according to Opio, Reuters reported.
Alice Lakwena, the leader of Uganda's disintegrated Holy Spirit Movement, has blamed her 15-year exile in Kenya on the Kenyan authorities who she claimed misled her into fleeing Uganda.
The former sect leader, holed up in Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya, said she is home-sick and in dire need of a husband. She also wants to see her parents. Lakwena recently told The Nation that she helped Kenya push back
Ugandan troops that tried to infiltrate Busia in 1987. "It is true I joined the Kenyan side to fight President Yoweri Museveni and opted to seek asylum hoping that I would receive a comfortable reception but that was not to be," she said.
Lakwena, 41, said the Dadaab camp had inadequate food and was insecure with rapists and bandits on the rampage.
She said she wanted to return to Uganda but feared she could be tried for crimes she committed while fighting Museveni's government.
Index Page: Ten Commandments of God: Tragedy in Uganda
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