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Iran Press TV

UN investigation details DR Congo 'ethnic cleansing'

Iran Press TV

Fri Aug 4, 2017 4:40PM

United Nations investigators have documented reports of "ethnic cleansing" and "extrajudicial or targeted killings" in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Kasai region, prompting the UN to call for urgent action to stop spreading violence.

Based on accounts from people who fled from Kasai between mid-March to mid-June, there were 251 extrajudicial killings, including 62 children, UN human rights investigators warned on Friday.

"Between March and June of this year our team documented a large number of killings, two hundred and fifty one killings of individuals, a large number of them children, sixty two were children who were killed in the context of a crisis and attacks going out on an ethnic basis but with government complicity," UN investigators reported.

The UN investigators based their new report, included with photos of survivors with dismembered limbs and deep scars, on interviews with 96 people who had fled from Congo to neighboring Angola over the past three months.

The report provides a snapshot of the violence that erupted in the once-calm region a year ago.

The UN has estimated the existence of 80 mass graves there.

At least 1.3 million people have been internally displaced, and at least 40,000 have fled to Angola.

"The nature and the scope of what's taken place ... could constitute crimes against humanity under international law," according to Scott Campbell, chief of the UN human rights office in central and west Africa.

In a statement, the UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein pointed to accounts of "the screams of people being burned alive" and others who were "cut down."

Hussein urged Congo's government to "act now to prevent such violence from tipping into wider ethnic cleansing."

His office also called on militia groups to lay down their weapons.

Violence in Kasai by the Kamwina Nsapu militia began last August with the killing of a regional tribal leader who had defied the government of President Joseph Kabila.

Access for UN investigators to the region has been difficult, and security concerns skyrocketed after the murder of two UN experts in Kasai earlier this year.



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