The UN on Tuesday accused the government-backed Bana Mura militia in Congo of committing horrific crimes in ethnically-motivated attacks in the past few months, including cutting off toddlers’ limbs and slicing open pregnant women.
Zeid Al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in Geneva: “refugees from multiple villages in the Kamonya territory indicated that the Bana Mura have in the past two months shot dead, hacked or burned to death.
“They have mutilated, hundreds of villagers, as well as destroying entire villages.
“My team saw children as young as two whose limbs had been chopped off; many babies had machete wounds and severe burns.”
NAN reports that the DRC government rejected an independent investigation into violence in its Kasai region which has been called for by Al-Hussein.
The UN Human Rights Council is likely to vote on Thuesday on whether to authorise such an investigation into violence that has killed hundreds in central Congo since last August, including two UN experts who were murdered earlier this year.
“Carrying out an investigation that excludes the Congolese authorities would be unacceptable. It would be as if we were not an independent country,” Justice Minister Alexis Mwamba told reporters in Geneva.
Al-Hussein called on the Council to mandate an investigation after Congo missed a deadline to agree to investigate alleged massacres jointly.
Mwamba said: “that would be a pity, for the simple reason that if a resolution is voted for and doesn’t take us into account, implementing it will be difficult.
“Do you want experts to go into a foreign country without reporting to the national authorities?
“How will they get visas? How will they get access to the countryside? The best way would be to go towards a solution that is acceptable for everyone … If you think you can do the investigation without us, go ahead.”
NAN reports that the Catholic Church said that 3,383 people have been killed in the Kasai region since October 2016, when fighting between Congolese Security Forces and militia members began.
The UN had previously said hundreds died in the violence.
The church report also said DRC’s national army was responsible for destroying 10 villages.
The army’s spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.