Ethnic violence kills more than 700 in DR Congo: Report

Most victims members of the Hema community

James Tasamba   | 11.01.2020
Ethnic violence kills more than 700 in DR Congo: Report

KIGALI, Rwanda

At least 701 people were killed during inter-ethnic tensions between the Hema and Lendu communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo between December 2017 and September 2019, according to a UN report Friday.

A total of 168 were injured and most of the victims are members of the Hema community.

The report details killings, rape and other violence targeting the Hema community in Djugu and Mahagi in Ituri Province.

Some 143 victims have been subjected to acts of sexual violence, the report said.

Since September 2018, Lendu armed groups carried out organized attacks against the Hema and members of other ethnic groups, according to the report.

The attacks were driven by the need to take control of the land and associated resources of Hema communities, it said.

Schools and health clinics were attacked and destroyed, houses and villages burned.

The attacks occurred in June and December during the harvest and planting seasons to prevent the Hema from cultivating land and experience food shortages.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva the report was based on an investigation conducted by the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in the DR Congo.

“The report documents numerous cases of women being raped, of children some in school uniforms being killed, and of looting and burning of villages," said Colville.

In its recommendations, the UN human rights office urged authorities to address the root causes of the Lendu-Hema conflict and to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the violence as well as compensation of the victims.

Since February 2018 ethnic violence in DR Congo drove about 57,000 Congolese into Uganda and more than 556,000 have fled to other neighboring countries, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

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