Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DR Congo: The ADF carries on killing and raping.

United Nations News reports

DR Congo: UN boosts force in east after gruesome massacre of civilians

MONUSCO troops near Kibumba in North Kivu along the Goma - Rutshuru road, Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC. Photo: MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti

16 December 2013 – The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has sent attack helicopters and manned foot patrols into the country's strife-torn North Kivu province after discovering the bodies of 21 civilians brutally slaughtered, including babies, children and women, some mutilated, others raped.

The response to this outrage should be delivered fast and I don't think the various forces charged with security in the Eastern DR Congo, MONUSCO, the  Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade and the Congolese Army ( FARDC ), should stuff around with trying to take people into custody. 

Troops from the UN Mission of Stabilization in the DRC (MONUSCO) made the gruesome discovery on Friday and Saturday in Musuku village in the Rwenzori area of Beni sector.

The killers have yet to be identified, but unconfirmed reports and villagers interrogated in the area strongly suspect that this could have been the work of the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU) and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), two of several armed groups that have terrorized North Kivu for years.

MONUSCO made it clear a month ago that the ADF was a high priority target I blogged about this on the 26th November and one has to wonder if this atrocity was carried out by the ADF / NALU  and it seems very likely it was, if this was done as a challenge to the UN Intervention Brigade. 

“These atrocities will not [go] unpunished and the perpetrators will know no respite as long as they have not been held accountable for their actions before the law,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative in the DRC, Martin Kobler, said today in a statement, condemning the murders in the strongest terms.

In the above mentioned blog I quoted a piece from an Al Jazeera report it is worth repeating.

" While the ADF’s initial years were marked by brutality towards civilians, this changed when they were forced to relocate deeper into the DRC’s jungles and become more self-sustaining. They achieved a degree of embeddedness into the surrounding community: they intermarried and socially integrated into the wider society, they further developed their business interests, and they acquired some political influence in the area. While they first began with a majority of Ugandans, the number of Congolese members steadily rose until they constituted over 60 percent of the force."

That gave me some hope that the ADF could be dealt with in a manner that might not come down to armed conflict, that was quite obviously a pipe dream. These pricks have crossed a line and that line is not one that they can now retreat from. One has to wonder just how accurate  that reporting in Al Jazeera was.

The victims were killed with machetes or knives, and the youngest among the dead was only a few months old while three girls are reported to have been raped before being beheaded, MONUSCO said, stressing that the attack helicopters and foot patrols aimed to take control of the area and prevent a further deterioration of security for the civilian population.

The ADF claim the mantle of freedom fighters and want to liberate Uganda from Museveni's rule by raping and then beheading young girls in the DR Congo. They have proved only that they are unfit to be considered part of the human family. If any are caught alive and I hope that isn't the case, it would seem reasonable they face justice in the DR Congo which retains the death penalty.

“MONUSCO reminds all armed groups that the killing of civilian population, who are not party to the conflict, is considered a crime against humanity,” the mission added.

Another armed movement in the eastern DRC, the M23 rebels, recently signed an accord with the DRC Government after repeated clashes with the army supported by a MONUSCO intervention force.

Actually M23 didn't sign an accord with the Congolese government and it would seem that some of the worst bastards in M23 will get away with their crimes against humanity that  cannot happen again with the ADF.

UN peacekeepers are now shifting their focus to other groups in North Kivu, including Mayi Mayi and the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) as well as NALU and ADF.

My feeling is still that the FDLR are the bigger problem and should get a higher priority than the ADF but if the ADF want to watch the grass growing from below it then I see no reason not to oblige them. 

Fierce fighting has continued in the east even after various UN peace missions helped to bring relative stability to other areas of the vast country which was torn asunder by civil war from 1996 to 2003, in which well over 4 million people are estimated to have died, mainly from starvation and disease.

The Intervention Brigade and FARDC have done a good job so far and I wouldn't bet against them having a knock out punch prepared for the ADF. I certainly hope so after this. 

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