Effacer le tableau

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Effacer le tableau
Part of Second Congo War and Violence against pygmies
Democratic Republic of the Congo (26 provinces) - Nord-Kivu.svg
Map of North Kivu within the DRC.
Région Ituri République démocratique du Congo.png
LocationNorth Kivu and Ituri Rainforest, Democratic Republic of the Congo
DateOctober 2002 to January 2003
Attack type
Genocidal massacre, Ethnic cleansing, cannibalism, war rape[1]
Deaths60,000[1][2] to 70,000[2]
(40% of the Eastern Congo's Pygmy population killed)[N 1]
VictimsBambuti pygmies
PerpetratorsMovement for the Liberation of Congo (Jean-Pierre Bemba)
MotiveTerritorial conquest of the North Kivu province of the DRC

Effacer le tableau ("erasing the board" or "cleaning the slate") was the operational name given to the systematic extermination of the Bambuti pygmies by rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).[3]


The extermination was carried out by soldiers from the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), who became known to locals as les effaceurs ("the erasers"), and troops from the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD-N).[4]

The primary objective of Effacer le tableau was the territorial conquest of the North Kivu province of the DRC and ethnic cleansing of Pygmies from the Congo's eastern region whose population numbered 90,000 by 2004.[1] The Bambuti were targeted specifically as the rebels considered them "subhuman", and it was believed by the rebels that the flesh of the Bambuti held "magical powers". There were also been reports of cannibalism being widespread.[5] It is estimated 60,000 to 70,000[2] Pygmy were killed in the campaign.

In March 2016 the International Criminal Court found Jean-Pierre Bemba guilty of human rights violations in the Central African Republic. Bemba was the vice president of the DRC, and leader of the MLC during the year long extermination campaign[6] but was fully acquitted by the ICC's appeal court in June 2018.


  1. ^ a b c Penketh, Anne (2004-07-07). "Extermination of the pygmies". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2018-12-21. Retrieved 2018-12-21.
  2. ^ a b c d "Between October 2002 and January 2003, two the rebel groups, the MLC and RCD-N in the East of the Congo launched a premeditated, systematic genocide against the local tribes and Pygmies nicknamed operation "Effacer le Tableau" ("erase the board"). During their offensive against the civilian population of the Ituri region, the rebel groups left more than 60,000 dead and over 100,000 displaced. The rebels even engaged in slavery and cannibalism. Human Rights Reports state that this was due to the fact that rebel groups, often far away from their bases of supply and desperate for food, enslaved the Pygmies on captured farms to grow provisions for their militias or when times get really tough simply slaughter them like animals and devour their flesh which some believe gives them magical powers. 11. Fatality Level of Dispute (military and civilian fatalities): 70,000 estimated" see: Raja Seshadri (7 November 2005). "Pygmies in the Congo Basin and Conflict". Case Study 163. The Inventory of Conflict & Environment, American University. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  3. ^ Penketh 2004.
  4. ^ Deibert 2013, p. 98.
  5. ^ Gilbert 2016, p. 43.
  6. ^ Lattimer 2016.


  1. ^ Eastern Pygmy population was reduced to 90,000 after a campaign that killed 60,000[2] implying a 40% decline


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