UN investigators accused security forces and militia of ‘crimes against humanity’

Vastavam web: UN investigators today accused the security forces and militia fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of committing crimes against humanity in the country’s restive Kasai region.The probe was established by the United Nations Human Rights Council last year to investigate abuses in Kasai, which was plunged into violence in September 2016 after government troops killed a local chieftain, Kamwina Nsapu.The chieftain was opposed to the Kinshasa government and now rebels fighting in his name are battling government forces and a pro-government militia called the Bana Mura.

It accused both government troops and militia members of targeting civilians in a “systematic or widespread manner,” highlighting atrocities that include murder, mutilation, rape, sexual “enslavement” and other “inhuman acts.” “A very serious problem of impunity persists, given the scale and gravity of these crimes,” added the investigators, who were granted access to Kasai to conduct the probe.The unrest in Kasai has claimed more than 3,000 lives and displaced some 1.4 million people from their homes, according to the Roman Catholic church, although this estimate is months old and an accurate picture of the conflict is notoriously hard to come by.The UN report also noted that the violence in Kasai has become increasingly ethnically motivated since early last year.

It said that some of the violations committed by the Bana Mura militias against members of the Luba ethnic group and attacks by the Kamwina Nsapu against the Tshokwe and Pende ethnic groups could be termed “persecution on ethnic grounds,” amounting to crimes against humanity.But urging Kabila to diffuse the crisis may prove fruitless.Many accuse him of intensifying DRC’s numerous challenges by refusing to stand down when his term presidential expired in 2016.