Tuesday, March 2, 2010

DRC: HRW accuses DRC army officer

Human Rights Watch on Monday accused a senior Democratic Republic of Congo army officer of major rights abuses including massacres, summary executions and rapes.

The United States-based campaign organisation joined 50 Congolese rights groups to file a formal complaint about Lieutenant Colonel Innocent Zimurinda, who currently commands troops in the eastern province of Nord Kivu.

"This involves massacres, summary executions, rapes, enlisting children, forced labour, expulsions, extortion and arbitrary arrests and detentions," the complaint said.

"We firmly believe that the lieutenant colonel (Zimurinda) is responsible for these abuses, either directly or because they were committed under his command. Therefore, we urge you to open a rigorous and impartial inquiry into these abuses as quickly as possible."

In the complaint, sent to General Amuli Bahigwa, the head of army operations in eastern Congo, and also to the auditor general of the armed forces in Kinshasa, the rights groups called for Zimurinda to be suspended and transferred to the capital.

Last April Zimurinda's unit was accused of killing at least 129 Rwandan Hutu refugees in Nord Kivu, including many women and children.

Source: AFP (02/03/2010)

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