Monday 19 March 2018

UN condemns Congo’s ‘unlawful’ crackdown on protests

The UN on Monday described as “unlawful and unjustified” a crackdown by Congolese security forces on anti-government protests that killed at least 47 people between January 2017 and January 2018.

The UN in a report said that the Congolese authorities used lethal force on protesters and attempted to cover up rights abuses by hiding dead bodies after protests calling for President Joseph Kabila to arrange long delayed elections.

NAN reports that in February, the U.S. issued sanctions targeting four military and militia leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo for engaging in “destabilising activity” that has prolonged the conflict in that country.

The U.S. Treasury Department said those sanctioned included Muhindo Mundos, a general in the armed forces accused of a brutal crackdown on civilians in his sector.

Senior rebels from three different militant groups also were sanctioned: Gedeon Mutanga, Guidon Mwissa and Lucien Nzabamwita, the Treasury said in a statement.

The U.S. action came days after the UN Security Council blacklisted the men for “planning, directing, or committing acts in the DRC that constitute human rights violations or abuses or violations of international humanitarian law.”

A series of opposition protests have been clamped down by the police.

The most recent being a peaceful march by the Catholic Church. Police fired tear gas as protesters holding green leaves and arrested a number of priests and protesters.

Congo is Africa’s largest copper producer but ranks very low on the UN Human Development Index. Congo has not experienced a peaceful transition of power since independence in 1960.

Dozens have been killed in anti-Kabila demonstrations in the capital, Kinshasa and other parts of the country.

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