DRC, still no justice for the victims of the Yumbi massacre

A destroyed building in the town of Yumbi, DRC, 2019 A destroyed building in the town of Yumbi, DRC, 2019 Timo Mueller/Human Rights Watch

16 December 2020 

Two years on, investigations on the attack that claimed hundreds of lives are still ongoing

Hundreds of survivors and families of the victims are still awaiting justice for the massacre that killed 535 between the 16th and 17th December 2018 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The atrocities were committed by members of the ethnic Batende group who, armed with machetes, knives and automatic weapons, stormed first the town of Yumbi, killing 170, mainly pertaining to the Banunu ethnic group, and then Nkolo II and Bogende villages, claiming more victims. 

Such terrible violence caused the death of at least 535 civilians, and it injured another 111. According to the United Nations (UN) and the government, the attacks were planned in advance and carried out by local leaders. These attacks also destroyed 1,500 houses, as well as schools and health centres, making it even harder for the people who, after fleeing the massacre, decided to return to their homes. 

Two years on, investigations on the Yumbi massacre are still ongoing, but a source has revealed to Human Rights Watch that few of the dozen suspects who were arrested were then released, while motivations remain unknown. It’s commonly acknowledged that the authorities have failed to address properly the trauma survivors and families of the victims have to face. For this reason, ensuring fair prosecution for those suspected of having committed the crime is of utmost importance. Without justice and accountability, these massacres could occur again, and cause the death of innocent civilians. 


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Author: Alessia Rossinotti

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