UN Peacekeeping Chief Calls for Congo Probe
New York, Nov 2 2009 7:10PM
The head of United Nations peacekeeping has called for a joint investigation into the targeted killing this year of dozens of civilians in the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by elements of the country’s military.
Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said yesterday that the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC (known as MONUC) and the Congolese armed forces (known as FARDC) should conduct the inquiry.
Mr. Le Roy, who is currently on an official visit to the eastern DRC, said (http://monuc.unmissions.org/) MONUC would immediately suspend its logistical support to the FARDC units believed to be implicated in the killings until the results of the investigation are known.
He said it would be up to the FARDC to take necessary measures once the probe is completed.
A UN spokesperson told journalists in New York today that “compelling evidence” had emerged that a brigade of the FARDC was responsible for the targeted murders of 62 civilians, including many women and children, in the Lukweti area of strife-torn North Kivu province between May and September this year.
“According to our information, these civilians were clearly targeted in attacks by certain units of the [army],” Mr. Le Roy told Radio Okapi, a UN-backed radio station.
MONUC forces have supported the FARDC in operations against Rwandan Hutu rebels based in North Kivu, but human rights groups have accused the army of carrying out numerous abuses against civilians during the operations.
Last month the independent UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Philip Alston described the military operations as “catastrophic” and urged that an immediate and thorough investigation be established.