Africa 14.2.2017 09:36 am

Congo militia using child soldiers, says UN

Congolese soldiers from the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) sit on a vehicle with looters after they arrested them in a street in Bangui on January 12, 2014 PHOTO: AFP

Congolese soldiers from the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) sit on a vehicle with looters after they arrested them in a street in Bangui on January 12, 2014 PHOTO: AFP

The militia is recruiting and using child soldiers while targeting symbols and institutions of State authority.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has expressed its concern about the persistent conflict in the Kasai provinces where violent atrocities are being committed by the Kamuina Nsapu militia.

The militia is recruiting and using child soldiers while targeting symbols and institutions of State authority, according to a Monday news release issued by the UN Stabilisation Mission in the African country (MONUSCO), which also cited the disproportionate use of force by government security forces known as FARDC in their response to the situation.

Particularly, since 9 February 2017, there have been ongoing clashes between Kamuina Nsapu militia and Congolese security forces within the area of Tshimbulu (160 Kilometres South East of Kananga) with unconfirmed reports of 30 to 50 deaths resulting from these clashes.

The news release stated that the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of MONUSCO, Maman S. Sidikou, strongly condemned the actions of the militia, and expressed his concern about repeated reports of the disproportionate use of force by the FARDC.

Sidikou expressed regret about the deaths and injuries suffered in these clashes and called upon the Congolese security forces to act in line with acceptable standards of national and international laws in their response to the situation.

He offered the Mission’s support to a credible investigation of this regrettable situation.

MONUSCO has deployed one of its mobile monitoring response teams in the area covering Tshikapa, Dibaya, Bunkode, Tshimbulu and Luiza to possibly prevent, investigate and document human rights violations in line with its mandate.

The organisation redeployed most of its resources to the country’s east in 2014. Given the improved security situation at the time, there was also a drastic reduction of military and civilian personnel affecting the Mission’s presence in Kananga in central Kasai.

However, since December 2016, MONOSCO has deployed a military company of soldiers in Kananga with the task of protecting the Mission’s personnel and assets as well as protecting civilians.

 

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