Los Angeles Times

Violence is roiling the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some human rights authorities suggest it's a strategy to keep the president in power

JOHANNESBURG - In a fog of tear gas, a priest in the capital drags a woman to safety after she was shot. In the churchyard. By the police.

About a thousand miles away in the Ituri region, on the other side of the Democratic Republic of Congo, people fleeing a massacre climb out of boats and wade ashore, their homes burned to the ground, their dead unburied.

And 700 miles from there, in the Kasai region, the United Nations discovers 80 mass graves, then blames government soldiers for most of the deaths.

It is easy to see these recent scenes as unrelated incidents in the panoramic chaos of a vast and troubled nation spinning out of control.

But there is another theory: The events are part of a plan.

Ida Sawyer, Human Rights Watch director for Central Africa, said senior security and

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