the United Nations expresses concern regarding the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo where more than 500 civilians were killed and 111 injured in December. Such scale of the violence could be a crime against humanity, the experts say.
A special mission by the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) has revealed the fresh data on the violence committed in the DR Congo last year. Among the atrocities were the decapitation of a toddler and the burning of people alive in their homes. According to the UN, these activities could be describe as crimes against humanity.
The thorough investigation was conducted by the UN experts who gave the search three villages and nearly 1,000 buildings, private and social objects. Many buildings were looted or even destroyed, the UNJHRO said. The experts suggest that the death toll may higher because investigators were not allowed in the Camp Nbanzi village and bodies may have been dumped in the Congo River.
Some reports have placed the death toll at 900 people. An estimated 19,000 people were displaced in DR Congo by the violence, which was triggered by a dispute over the burial of a Banunu chief. Batende villagers attacked people in the streets and in their homes, leaving no time for them to escape.
The only lack of state authority could lead to such a terrifying situation, violence and atrocities, the UN report reads: “Tensions and resentment between the two communities, combined with rumors of reprisals, could give rise to new waves of violence at any time.”
The existing authorities in the province definitely have failed in their responsibility to protect the population, said the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general in the DRC, Leila Zerrougui. She urged to measures to restore state authority in Yumbi territory so the displaced populations can return.
“The neutral presence of state institutions, including the police, is important to maintain law and order and to prevent the risk of further violence,” Zerrougui said.