from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE rebel March 23 Movement (M23) killed at least 131 civilians during acts of reprisals against the populations in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the end of November.
The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) and UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUSCO) disclosed the figures following an investigation into the violation in the territory of Rutshuru in the province of North Kivu.
Those killed comprise 102 men, 17 women and 12 children.
The victims were arbitrarily executed by bullets or with bladed weapons.
Eight people were also injured by bullets and 60 others kidnapped.
At least 22 women and five girls were raped.
This violence was committed as part of a campaign of murder, rape, kidnapping and looting against these two villages in Rutshuru territory in retaliation for clashes between the M23 and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR – FOCA) and armed groups- Mayi-Mayi Mazembe and Nyatura Coalition of Movements for Change.
MONUSCO condemned the violence against civilians and called for unrestricted access to the scene and the victims for emergency humanitarian assistance.
However, MONUSCO welcomed the decision of the Congolese authorities to open legal proceedings against the perpetrators of the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
“The mission stands ready to contribute to these efforts and calls for an immediate cessation of violence against civilians,” it stated.
Rebels groups are a major insecurity concern in the DRC.
– CAJ News