UN rights chief urges international probe of Congo killings

Amina J. Mohammed United Nations Secretary General Special Adviser

Amina J. Mohammed United Nations Secretary General Special Adviser

Investigators deployed by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, reported refugees from multiple villages in the Kamonya territory indicated the Bana Mura had in the past two months shot dead, hacked, burned to death and mutilated hundreds of villagers.

More than 3300 people have been killed in central Congo's volatile Kasai provinces since August, according to a document released by the Catholic church, as the United Nations called for an global investigation after accounts of babies with machete wounds and pregnant women sliced open.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein called for an worldwide investigation, saying the Kinshasa government had not done enough to look into the atrocities.

The violence has stoked political tensions already heightened by President Joseph Kabila's decision to stay in power beyond the December 2016 end of his mandate.

In areas attacked by the Bana Mura militia, "my team saw children as young as two whose limbs had been chopped off", Zeid said, adding that "many babies had machete wounds and severe burns".

More than a million people have been displaced in the region in the a year ago and aid workers say the humanitarian response on the ground has so far been inadequate.

Congolese Human Rights Minister Marie-Ange Mushobekwa-Likulia told the council Tuesday the government would allow United Nations investigators to help a national probe into the abuses, insisting it was the Kamwina Nsapu rebels who were committing "true human slaughter" in the Kasai. "It would be as if we were not an independent country", Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba told reporters in Geneva.

"One two-month-old baby seen by my team had been hit by two bullets four hours after birth; the mother was also wounded".

Congolese security forces and a militia fighting them have killed at least 3,383 people in the central Kasai region since October, the Catholic church said on Tuesday, in the most detailed report to date on the violence.

No one was immediately available to comment from the militia or Democratic Republic of Congo's army, which has dismissed accusations of excessive force in the past.

The fighting erupted in August after Kamwina Nsapu, the leader of a militia he named after himself, was killed by government soldiers.

Some 42 mass graves have been documented.

Atrocities were being carried out by the security forces and a government-backed militia, known as the Bana Mura, which was set up to help fight a rival group known as the Kamuina Nsapu, Prince Zeid said.

Two Western experts sent to investigate the conflict by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres went missing in March.

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