Monday, February 20, 2017 8:05 am
The U.S. Government has expressed deep concern over a video footage showing armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) allegedly carrying out summary execution of civilians in the country.
The U.S. Department of State, in a statement issued by the Spokesperson, Mr Mark Toner, said the incident could constitute gross violations of human rights.
“The United States is deeply concerned by video footage that appears to show elements of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo summarily executing civilians, including women and children.
“Such extrajudicial killing, if confirmed, would constitute gross violations of human rights and threatens to incite widespread violence and instability in an already fragile country.
“We call upon the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to launch an immediate and thorough investigation in collaboration with international organizations responsible for monitoring human rights.
“This is to identify those who perpetrated such heinous abuses, and to hold accountable any individual proven to have been involved,” Toner said.
The UN Office for High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR), had said the reported killing of at least 101 people by soldiers in clashes between military forces and members of the Kamuina Nsapu militia in central Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) constituted excessive use of force.
OHCHR said at least 39 individuals among those killed in the violence between Feb. 9 and Feb. 13 were women, caught in the shooting, when Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) soldiers opened fire indiscriminately with machine guns when they saw militia fighters.
Ms Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the OHCHR, explained that “the militia members where reportedly armed mainly with machetes and spears.
“We are deeply concerned at the reported high number of deaths, which if confirmed would suggest excessive and disproportionate use of force by the soldiers,” Throssell said, noting that the UN Joint Human Rights Office was seeking to verify the exact number of victims.
She called on the FARDC soldiers to abide by standards under national law and international human rights law in their responses and urged the military commanders to reinforce this message with their troops.
“In particular to exercise restraint and to use force only when necessary and proportionate to the threat, to minimise damage and injury and to respect and preserve human lives,” she said.
Throssell called on the authorities to conduct a full and independent investigation into the latest violence, and offered OHCHR support to investigate other allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses committed in the context of the ongoing conflict in Kasai Central Province by the FARDC and the militia.
“Given the ongoing violence, we also reiterate our call for increased efforts to find durable solutions to conflicts with customary chiefs in Kasai Central Province,” Throssell said.