Friday, December 18, 2009

congo and the un

A U.N.-backed Congolese military operation to oust rebels from eastern Congo has caused more civilian casualties than damage to rebels, with more than 1,400 people deliberately killed over a nine-month period, human rights groups said

Human Rights Watch said it had documented "vicious and widespread" attacks against civilians by soldiers and rebels between January and September. Soldiers being fed and supplied with ammunition by the United Nations have killed civilians, gang-raped girls and cut the heads off some young men they accuse of being rebels or supporting the enemy.

"For every rebel combatant disarmed, one civilian has been killed, seven women and girls have been raped, six houses have been burned and destroyed and 900 people have been forced to flee their homes," Oxfam said.

Human Rights Watch said it documented the killings of 732 civilians between January and September by the Congolese army and troops from neighboring Rwanda fighting alongside it. In the same period, it counted 701 civilians killed by the rebels they are fighting.

"Some victims were tied together before their throats were, according to one witness, 'slit like chickens.' The majority of the victims were women, children, and the elderly,"

More than 7,500 cases of sexual violence against women and girls were registered at health centers during that nine-month period, nearly double that of 2008 and likely representing only a fraction of the total.


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