from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – CONGOLESE authorities have been urged to apprehend a rebel commander who remains free despite an arrest warrant and his forces continue perpetrating crimes against humanity.
Judicial authorities, in June last year, issued the warrant against militia leader, Guidon Shimiray Mwissa, whose troops are accused of summary killings, rapes and sexual slavery, extortion, and forced recruitment of children east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“A 2019 arrest warrant has not stopped Guidon from committing horrific abuses against civilians in areas he controls,” Thomas Fessy, senior Congo researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW) lamented.
He said Mwissa’s alleged backers within the Congolese army should be investigated and prosecuted for using his Nduma Defense of Congo-Rénové (NDC-R) group as a proxy force.
Until it split into two factions in July 2020, NDC-R controlled more territory than any other armed group in the North Kivu province.
It is claimed Senior Congolese army officers have provided NDC-R troops with material support such as arms and ammunition.
HRW said it had also received reports alleging collaboration between Rwandan security forces and NDC-R.
Congolese troops have been quoted as assuring of a commitment to operations against Mwissa’s forces and seeking to arrest him.
The administration of President Felix Tshisekedi has struggled to contain a myriad of armed groups since he came to power in 2019.
Rebellions peaked during the presidency of Joseph Kabila, who assumed power after his father Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated in 2001.
– CAJ News