Kinshasa, December 8th, 2022 (CPA) – A preliminary investigation by UNJHRO and MONUSCO documented 131 cases of massacres of civilians during acts of reprisal perpetrated on November 29th and 30th, 2022 by Rwandan-backed M23 terrorists in Rutshuru, in Nord Kivu.
“M23 rebels killed at least 131 civilians (102 men, 17 women and 12 children) during acts of reprisal against the civilian population perpetrated on November 29th and 30th, in Kishishe and Bambo, two villages in Rutshuru territory in Nord Kivu province in DRC », revealed a press release from the spokesperson for MONUSCO, which reached CPA on Thursday.
« The victims were arbitrarily executed by bullets or with bladed weapons », added the document, which specifies that « eight people were also wounded by bullets and 60 others abducted » and that « in least 22 women and five girls were raped”.
A “campaign” of murders and rapes
UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) and MONUSCO have claimed that the massacres in Kishishe and Bambo were committed as part of a campaign of killings, rapes, kidnappings and looting against these two villages, in retaliation for clashes between M23 and FDLR-FOCA, as well as local armed groups, in particular Mai-Mai Mazembe and Nyatura coalition of movements for change.
To establish the facts incriminated against M23 terrorists, the preliminary investigation team of UNJHRO and MONUSCO interviewed 52 victims and direct witnesses as well as various other sources. The investigations took place in Rwindi (20 km from Kishishe) where there is a base of UN mission and where victims found refuge after the violence, the statement added.
“MONUSCO condemns in the strongest terms the unspeakable violence against civilians and calls for unrestricted access to the scene of the events and to the victims for urgent humanitarian assistance”, the document states.
UN mission also welcomes the decision of DRC authorities to open legal proceedings against the perpetrators of this violence against human rights and international humanitarian law.
It says she is « ready to contribute to these efforts and calls for an immediate cessation of violence against civilians », it is reported.
Two hundred and seventy-two civilians were massacred in Kishishe locality in Rutshuru territory in Nord Kivu, announced last Monday, Mr. Julien Paluku, Minister of Industry and former Governor of the Nord Kivu Province, during the weekly briefing he co-hosted with his Communication and Media counterpart, Patrick Muyaya.
“The figure of 272 civilians massacred by M23/RDF has been documented and provided by civil society organizations and the Community Barza”, he explained.
He had, to this end, specified that « each community counted its members before establishing this assessment and that most of those killed were civilians at the Adventist Church ».
The toll, he noted, could rise to 300 dead with ongoing investigations. ACP/Masebi