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Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

D.R. CONGO- In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Violence in the Kasai provinces appears to be taking on an increasing and disturbing ethnic dimension, a report by the UN Human Rights Office has warned. According to information gathered by a team of UN human rights investigators, there is a revelation that some of the violations and abuses committed in the Kasais may amount to crimes under international law.

It is confirmed that between 12 March and 19 June some 251 people were the victims of extrajudicial and targeted killings. These included 62 children, of which 30 were aged under eight. Respondents noted that local security forces and other officials actively fomented, fueled, and occasionally led, attacks on the basis of ethnicity.

Reports further confirmed that a number of people have been seriously injured or mutilated, including the case of a seven-year-old boy who had had several fingers cut off and his face totally disfigured. There is also a story of a woman whose arm had been chopped off before she managed to escape, hiding for several days in the forest before reaching the Angolan border and being airlifted to hospital.

As recounted by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the state of the increasing violence is rather appalling. He noted that reports have been made narrating some of the ordeals and unwritable circumstances some victims have had to go through. He therefore called on the Government of DRC to critically look into the matter.

“Survivors have spoken of hearing the screams of people being burned alive, of seeing loved ones chased and cut down, of themselves fleeing in terror. Such bloodletting is all the more horrifying because we found indications that people are increasingly being targeted because of their ethnic group.

“Their accounts should serve as a grave warning to the Government of the DRC to act now to prevent such violence from tipping into wider ethnic cleansing.

“I call on the Government to take all necessary measures to fulfill its primary obligation to protect people from all ethnic backgrounds in the greater Kasai area.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Correspondent: Ridwan A Olayiwola

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