Massacres persist in DR Congo

 Street of Kinshasa   Street of Kinshasa Photo by Kaysha on Unsplash

15 September 2021

Despite the martial law, attacks on civilians go ahead in the provinces of eastern DR Congo

According to Human Rights Watch, attacks on civilians by armed groups have continued in two conflict-ridden provinces of eastern DR Congo since the government imposed martial law in May 2021. Various armed groups have killed at least 672 civilians, while Congolese security forces have killed 67 civilians in Ituri and North Kivu provinces, in the period between the adoption of martial law on 6th May and 10th September 2021.

Human Rights Watch reports that martial law was introduced to swiftly end the insecurity which is killing citizens on a daily basis. According to its provisions, military authorities are able to search people’s homes day and night, ban publications and meetings deemed against public order, restrict people’s movements, and arrest anyone for disrupting public order. The source Actualité CD also stated that, at the introduction of the martial law, there were initial reassurances regarding the protection and respect of international human rights and humanitarian law. Notwithstanding, there have been sustained killings of civilians which highlighted the ongoing insecurity in the region and the inadequate military response. A demonstration was the massacre of 2nd August. As described by Human Rights Watch, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist armed group led by Ugandans, allegedly killed at least 16 civilians, including 2 women, in the village of Idohu in the Ituri province. A dozen Congolese army soldiers were in the village and more were stationed in a military camp nearby, but they did not prevent the attack. 

Data collected by Kivu Security Tracker, a joint project of Human Rights Watch and the Congo Research Group, shows that, since the declaration of martial law, no indication that Congolese forces have increased military operations to improve civilian protection in areas most at risk has been registered. Human Rights Watch calls for authorities to take all steps possible to protect civilians and to carefully check and strengthen Congolese army units deployed in operations in order to make martial law effective.





Author: Jasmina Saric; Editor: Gianpaolo Mascaro

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