More than 3300 dead in Congo in eight months of violence

20 Juin, 2017, 17:29 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • Months of ongoing violence in DR Congo's central Kasai region has claimed more than 3,300 lives and forced more than 1.3 million people into exile

The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is due to decide this week whether to authorize an investigation into the Kasai violence.

Over the past two months, the militia had carried out "horrific attacks against civilians from the Luba and Lulua ethnic groups", destroying entire villages, and shooting, burning and hacking to death villagers, among them babies and young children.

Prince Zeid's comments came on the same day that the Catholic church claimed more than 3,300 people have been killed in the central Kasai region - an opposition stronghold - since October.

The violence began past year when Kamwina Nsapu, a tribal chieftain in territory near the southern border with Angola, openly challenged the authority of President Joseph Kabila's government, provoking a crackdown by security forces.

Violence erupted in the once peaceful Kasai region last August, after the death of a local leader during fighting with security forces.

Interviews conducted by UN rights experts found evidence of mutilation using machetes

The church report also said DRC's national army was responsible for destroying 10 villages.

He called for an "independent, worldwide investigation" to be set up to probe the situation in the region.

Congolese Human Rights Minister Marie-Ange Mushobekwa-Likulia told the council Tuesday the government would allow United Nations investigators to help a national probe into the abuses, insisting it was the Kamwina Nsapu rebels who were committing "true human slaughter" in the Kasai.

At times, Zeid said, victims recounted that Congolese troops and police "have accompanied some Bana Mura attacks" and some "state agents" were involved in directing and arming the militia.

"One two-month-old baby seen by my team had been hit by two bullets four hours after birth. At least two pregnant women were sliced open and their fetuses mutilated".

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