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Fears of rights abuses in DRC war

A member of the Mai Mai militia patrols his camp. Photo: The New Times

Fears of rights abuses in DRC war

Source: The New Times

Fears of serious human rights abuses in the latest wave of fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), especially in areas that have previously witnessed sexual violence committed against civilians by members of armed groups have emerged.

War has resumed in eastern DRC in recent weeks between Government forces, dissident groups and militia. The situation is said to be causing immense suffering for civilians who are experiencing displacement, human rights violations, and loss of property.

“I call on all parties to immediately refrain from any acts of violence and urge the Government of DRC to restore state authority and ensure the protection of civilians, including from sexual violence,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, said in a statement issued at the weekend.

“Those responsible for human rights violations must be brought to justice.

I remind all parties to the conflict that the world is watching, and that the fight against impunity will continue.

Once again, a new wave of violence is being perpetrated by warlords whom have been sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council for various violations including sexual violence crimes.”

She voiced particular concern about the volatile security situation in several villages in Walikale territory, in the province of North Kivu, which were besieged by armed militia, including the Mai Mai Sheka.

These villages were the scenes of horrendous crimes in July and August 2010, when at least 387 women, men and children were the targets of acts of sexual violence by the same group.

“The protection of civilians remains a challenge despite the concerted efforts of the Government of DRC and the United Nations to secure vulnerable populations, including through the deployment of a police presence in Luvungi, Walikale territory and the establishment of Community Alert Networks,” said Ms. Wallström.

The Security Council, which received a closed-door briefing by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, on the situation in DRC, voiced its serious concern over the recent attacks by armed groups in the eastern part of the country, and called for an immediate end to the rebellion.

It reiterated its demand that all armed groups “immediately cease all forms of violence, including sexual violence, and human rights abuses against the civilian population…, lay down their arms and demobilize,” in a statement read out to the media by Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev of Azerbaijan, which holds the rotating Council presidency for this month.

Council members also voiced deep concern over the worsening security and humanitarian situation in eastern DRC, and recalled the need for all crimes, including crimes against women and children, to be expeditiously investigated and for all perpetrators to be brought to justice.



Rwanda Sends 3 Thousand Troops in DRC

by AfroAmerica Network on May 8, 2012

Sources in Kigali and Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) inform AfroAmerica Network that the Rwandan Government has sent more than three thousand troops into the DRC over the last three days.

The deployment of Rwandan troops into DRC follows an agreement between the intelligence services of the two countries and the meeting between the Defense Ministers.

The Defence Ministers met last week in the Rwandan border town of Gisenyi, whereas the intelligence services met in Kigali on May 3, 2012.

According to the sources, the two intelligence services and the ministers agreed on two points:

* Rwanda will send troops into the DRC to prop up the beleaguered FADRC troops. FARDC have been faced with massive defections, rebellions and mutinies. The largest group of defectors are led by General Bosco Ntaganda, an accused war criminal who has mainly been the proxy warlord of the Rwandan military in Eastern DRC. The DRC authorities believe that with the Rwandan troops in DRC, General Bosco Ntaganda’s rebellion may be tamed.

* DRC Government agreed to open negotiations with General Bosco Ntaganda. At least, the DRC Government promised to push that General Bosco Ntaganda be tried in the DRC for crimes he is accused of by the International Criminal Tribunal (ICT). The hope is that if tried in the DRC, he may not be found guilty of the grave crimes by Congolese judges. The Congolese judiciary system has been accused of being mostly run by the DRC Government and being notoriously ineffective and corrupt.

The intelligence services of the government of DRC and Rwanda held the talks at the Serena Hotel in Kigali. The delegation of the DRC included Col Kalev Mutond, Director of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR), and Colonel Jean Claude Yav Jean, Chief of Military Intelligence (DEMIAP).

Meanwhile, the mutiny continues. The latest was on Thursday night May 3, 2012 by the former second in command of FARDC in North-Kivu, Colonel Makenga. He was based in Mugunga, a few miles from Goma, the capital of the province and the headquarter of MONUSCO.

Meanwhile, the UN mission in the DRC says the government has regained control of eastern areas, report wire agencies.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC affirmed that the government’s armed forces have got control over several areas in the eastern part of the central African country, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said on Monday.

“The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) has confirmed that after regaining control over a number of areas in the North Kivu province, government military operations were suspended on May 5, for five days,” said Nesirky.

Starting on April 29, the DRC government forces, known as FARDC, fought rebel forces in the Masisi area of North Kivu province, causing the displacement of more than 500,000 people, reports said.

The spokesman added that the operational pause in fighting is reportedly “aimed at encouraging deserters to rejoin the FARDC.” Armed groups, including former elements of CNDP and PARECO, have carried out attacks on FARDC in the eastern DRC.