In the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the death toll rises with at least 64 people dead after an attack suspected to have been carried out by rebels. The reports emerged on Al Jazeera, who Nyonyi Bwanakawa, the mayor of Beni in North Kivu, informed that the attack on Saturday night happened in the town’s Rwangoma district.
The DRC’s armed forces have accused the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) of carrying out the brutal attacks. The AFD is a Ugandan rebel group that operates inside the DRC’s borders. DRC army spokesman, Mak Hazukay, also confirmed to AFP news agency that bodies were recovered in Rwangoma.
Rwangoma’s residents spoke to Al Jazeera’s reporters and stated that the victims had been hacked to death and some spoke of seeing ADF rebels coming out of the forest on Saturday. This presented more confusion as some residents had said that some men were wearing “army uniforms”.
Reagen Kyaviro, a survivor, told Al Jazeera that the attackers had turned up outside of his house. “The guy in front turned his weapon on me. When I tried to run away from the house, he hit me on the neck with the side of his gun. He took me by my shirt. I was forced to run. By chance, they did not follow me.”
The United Nations has a heavy presence in the DRC as part of the United Nations Organization Stablization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), but has yet to publicly respond to the attack. As of June 30 2015, 19,784 total uniformed personnel, 18,232 military personnel, 462 military observers, 1,090 police (including formed units), 840 international civilian personnel, 2,725 local civilian staff and 450 United Nations Volunteers were based in the DRC.
The United Nations have been labelled as “tourists in helicopters” and Human Rights Watch in 2014 accused the UN failing to respond to repeated calls for help during an attack in which 30 people were killed. In the report, Africa advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, Anneke Van Woudenberg stated that “The Congolese army and UN peacekeepers left civilians in Mutarule to be slaughtered even though they got desperate calls for help when the attack began…Both the army and MONUSCO need to determine what went wrong and make sure such atrocities don’t happen again on their watch.”
Al Jazeera reporter Zahra Moloo writes that “many Congolese do not share the same perspective, arguing that armed attacks are still occurring regularly and the peacekeepers’ presence makes no substantial difference to their security.”
Moloo also reported that Luc Nkulula, a grassroots activist with the movement Lucha, believes that the solution for the DRC lies in its people, “The solution for the DRC is Congolese.”
Zahra Moloo report on the United Nation’s presence in the DRC: //www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/01/peacekeepers-drc-longer-trusted-protect-160112081436110.html
Facts and Figures on the MONUSCO: //monusco.unmissions.org/en/facts-and-figures
Read the full 2014 Human Rights Watch Report: https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/02/dr-congo-army-un-failed-stop-massacre
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