Democratic Republic of Congo: UN expert accuses soldiers of killing 50 Hutu refugees in North Kivu

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Map of Africa highlighting location of Rwanda.
Image: Vardion.

Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) allegedly killed 50 Rwandan, Hutu refugees and kidnapped some 40 women who were victims of gang rape, according to a United Nations special report on extrajudicial executions.

The FARDC allegedly attacked a makeshift camp for Rwandan Hutu refugees on April 26, 2009 at Shalio in North Kivu, reported Philip Alston of the UN during a press conference in Kinshasa. The FARDC surrounded the camp, shot and beat to death at least 50 refugees and burned the camp.

"A small group of 10 [women] who escaped described being gang raped, and had severe injuries — some had chunks of their breasts hacked off," said Alston. The military operation conducted by the FARDC, with the support of the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) against Rwandan Hutu rebels, has been « une catastrophe, un désastre en matière des droits de l'Homme » ("a catastrophe, a disaster in terms of human rights,") he added.

The statement comes as the High Commissioner of UN for Refugees António Guterres and Deputy US Secretary of State for Humanitarian Affairs Eric Schwartz are visiting the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.