from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE attacks by militants, which have left over 1 000 people dead over the past 18 months, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) might amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes.
An armed group known, as Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), has intensified its attacks against civilians in the eastern provinces of the country.
Statistics by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC (UNJHRO) indicate that from January 1 2019 to June 30 2020, ADF combatants have killed at least 1 066 civilians have killed, wounded 176 others while abducting 717 others in North-Kivu and Ituri provinces.
During the same period, 59 children were recruited.
One school, seven health centres and dozens of civilian houses were attacked and looted.
“In the majority of cases, the means and the modus operandi of the attacks indicate a clear intention to leave no survivors. Entire families have been hacked to death,” UNJHRO stated in a report.
Assailants used heavy weaponry during attacks against villages, including AK47s and mortars, and also machetes and knives.
They often burned down entire villages.
Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and head of the Stabilization Mission in DRC, said the violations might be classified as crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Zerrougui appealed to authorities to complete pending judicial cases into all allegations of human rights abuses and bring all alleged perpetrators to justice.
Some 400 ADF militants have been awaiting trial since 2019.
ADF has been active in Beni, North Kivu for more than three decades.
Combatants dispersed to other provinces following military campaigns.
– CAJ News