Military branded useless as Congolese bloodbath soars

DRC soldiers, file photo

DRC soldiers at work (not the ones charged, file photo

from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) THE military and United Nations (UN) troops are accused of incompetence as rebel groups freely kill civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

At least 70 civilians have been killed in the last two weeks, forcing surviving residents staging protests over the insecurity and alleged complicity by the army and the UN forces.

Police have also used excessive force, including live ammunition to break up demonstrations. This has resulted in the death of a protester in Beni, North Kivu Province.

Murder, abductions, rape and looting by rebel groups and state security characterise the insecurity, mostly in Beni.

The surge in violence has led to suspension of aid agency efforts against the Ebola and measles epidemics.

Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director, urged all entities charged with civilian protection, including the UN mission, to fulfill their mandate and eliminate the killings.

“It is scandalous that civilians are dying day in, day out while local police and nearby UN peacekeepers stay put in their camps,” Magango fumed.

“At the moment, the security and UN forces are utterly failing in their obligation to protect people living in Beni and other places.”

Some humanitarian organisations have halted their response to Ebola and measles as a result of insurgency.

Helen Barclay-Hollands, World Vision regional director, said the violence could not have come at a worse time as they were making progress against the diseases that have killed over 2 000 and 4 000 respectively since late last year.

“Children will die from disease as a direct result of the insecurity if work did not resume extremely quickly,” she warned.

– CAJ News

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