Last Updated: Monday, 21 July 2014, 10:52 GMT

MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: September 2007

Publisher UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)
Publication Date 9 November 2007
Cite as UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: September 2007 , 9 November 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/473817d62.html [accessed 22 July 2014]

Summary: United Nations Human Rights Office in the DRC (UNHRO) identified three mass graves in the former HQ of the 2nd Battalion of mixed Bravo Brigade (pro-Nkunda) in North Kivu; MONUC urged the highest military justice authorities to conduct further investigations into the Serge Maheshe case in light of the retraction of two of the defendants who were sentenced to death (South Kivu); The trial of 'Gédéon' continued before the Kipushi Military Tribunal in Katanga Province.1

Moreover, Congolese military judicial officials and MONUC began preliminary investigations into allegations of mass rape perpetrated in Lieke Lesole in Orientale Province; Civilians suspected of being supporters of opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba or of collaborating with Laurent Nkunda were subjected to arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions in North Kivu and Maniema Provinces; FARDC and PNC were responsible for a number of violations of the right to life and the right to physical integrity, including rape.

Main developments

1. On the night of 2-3 September 2007, pro-Nkunda elements of Bravo Brigade Headquarters moved out of Rutshuru to reinforce their positions in Jomba groupement (Rutshuru territory towards the border with Uganda and Rwanda) and looted part of the equipment at a local hydroelectric plant (that supplies electricity to the Kiwandja, Rutshuru and Rubare) causing the death of over 10 premature babies at the Rubare and Kiwandja hospital as well as the loss of the blood bank of the Rutshuru hospital, the Radio Colombe transformer as well as several houses during their movement.

2. On 10 September 2007, the UNHRO verified allegations of the existence of mass graves at the former HQ of the 2nd Battalion of Bravo Brigade in Rubare, Rutshuru territory- 65 km north of Goma. The team observed three mass graves in the area of the abandoned military post. According to information obtained from the local FARDC Commander, 30 people were reportedly detained at the camp before the departure of the 2nd Battalion a week earlier, three of whom had managed to escape. On 11 September 2007, the UNHRO officially informed the military Justice authorities (Auditeur Militaire Supérieur and the Auditeur Militaire de Garnison) of the results of their mission and also provided them with photos taken of the graves as well as detailed information on their location and dimensions.

3. On 18 September 2007, MONUC accompanied Congolese military justice officials to Rubare, where they verified the existence of three mass graves and unearthed the remains of nine bodies. On 20-21 September 2007, the same mission visited Katwiguru and Kiseguru, also in Rutshuru territory, to conduct investigations into the existence of mass graves there. The mission of 20-21 September 2007 unearthed the remains of at least 12 bodies buried in shallow, unmarked graves in Katwiguru and Kiseguru. The evidence gathered so far suggests that all 21 persons were arbitrarily executed by the pro-Nkunda elements before they abandoned their camps. The UNHRO expects the Congolese military justice officials to carry out the necessary follow-up investigations into the case.

4. On 10 September 2007, nine civilians were allegedly arbitrarily executed by pro-Nkunda soldiers at a military camp in Kitshanga, collectivity of Bashali, territory of Masisi, on the pretext that they were Mayi Mayi and FDLR collaborators.

5. On 13 September 2007, the UNHRO confirmed that two of the four accused persons who were sentenced to death on 28 August 2007 by the Bukavu Military Tribunal for the assassination of Radio Okapi Journalist, Serge Maheshe, had written a letter to the Bukavu Military Court on 8 September 2007 retracting their statements which implicated the two eyewitnesses of the killing who were sentenced to death on a charge of criminal conspiracy. In the letter written in Swahili and to which they affixed their signatures and fingerprints, the two men accused two magistrates from the Office of the Military Prosecutor in Bukavu of having pressured them into making false statements against the eyewitnesses.

In reaction to this new development, on 17 September 2007, MONUC addressed a letter to the highest military justice authorities calling for thorough investigations into the allegations brought against the magistrates. It can be recalled that on 31 August 2007, in the aftermath of the verdict, MONUC had released a communiqué in which it expressed its deep concerns and recommended the observance of fair trial standards and the proper exploitation of all pieces of evidence in the appeal case. Under article 310 of the judicial military code, this new development could justify the revision of the first instance trial if considered as a 'new fact likely to establish the innocence of the sentenced persons'.

6. The trial of former Mayi Mayi leader Kyungu Mutanga, alias Gédéon, resumed before the Kipushi Military Tribunal in Katanga Province on 18 September 2007 and continued on 25 and 28 September 2007. During the hearing of 18 September, five persons testified including the individual who had facilitated Gédéon's coming out of the forest, and the chaplain of the 63rd Brigade. As was the case during past hearings, the defendant continued to deny all accusations brought against him.

A civilian claimed to have been a victim of abduction, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as well as attempted arbitrary execution by Maï Maï elements under the command of Gédéon. He informed the court of acts of cannibalism and mutilation of dead bodies perpetrated by the Maï Maï and claimed to have been forced to eat human flesh. He also stated that he had seen the decapitated bodies of two traditional chiefs at Gédéon's HQ in Kabala.

When confronted with the testimonies of the two witnesses, Gédéon denied the facts but failed to provide convincing answers when questioned about his knowledge of the crimes committed and their perpetrators. Gédéon is charged with insurrection, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism, committed between October 2003 and May 2006 in the territory of Mitwaba, Katanga Province.

7. In the hearing on 25 September 2007, the daughter of a traditional leader who was allegedly killed by Gédéon's men informed the court that the defendant knew her father very well and used to pay him visits. Three other civilians, all relatives of a priest who was allegedly killed together with his collaborator by Gédéon's men when he went to negotiate on behalf of the local authorities, also testified. They claimed that the accused knew the priest very well.

Gédéon denied having had prior knowledge of the death of the priest and of the traditional leader, and claimed that he had learned about the incident during the hearing. A report read to the Tribunal by the Presiding Judge indicated that the 'Mayi Mayi combatants' had written a detailed report on the death of the two traditional leaders to Gédéon, thus suggesting that he was implicated in the killing. Throughout the hearing, the Presiding Judge refused to allow the lawyers for the victims to ask questions aimed at establishing the responsibility or the implication of the State in the crimes committed by Gédéon and his men.

8. During the 7th hearing on 28 September 2007, the Tribunal pursued its questioning of witnesses in connection with the execution of a priest by Gédéon's men. A witness claimed to have seen one of Gédéon's close collaborators with the priest's tunic not far from Kabala, the defendant's main base. Another part of the hearing was dedicated to establishing if any weapons were handed over to MONUC by Gédéon's men because the defendant has stated that the Mayi Mayi combatants who handed over weapons to MONUC were not under his command. The Tribunal requested the Military Prosecutor to obtain detailed information from MONUC on the weapons that were handed over as well as on the identity of the Mayi Mayi group that was involved in the operation. The trial will resume on 2 October 2007.

9. On 25 September 2007, the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the DRC delivered a statement to the Human Rights Council, meeting on the occasion of its 6th ordinary session in Geneva. The Independent Expert is scheduled to visit the DRC by December 2007.

10. On 29 September 2007, Congolese military judicial officials, in tandem with the UNHRO, began preliminary investigations into allegations of mass rape perpetrated in Lieke Lesole, Opala territory, Orientale Province, on 21 July -3 August 2007, by a group of Mayi Mayi under the command of Colonel Thoms. During their 90-minute stay in the village, the HROs interviewed about ten rape victims as well as victims of extortion and also met with the local authorities. The Administrator of Opala territory, Congolese military justice officials, UNFPA, UNPOL and MILOBS were also part of the delegation. The UNHRO plans to continue its investigations on 3 October.

11. On 6 September 2007, the Deputy Director of the UNHRO in charge of Technical Cooperation inaugurated 10 prisons cells at the Mbandaka Central Prison in Equateur Province during a ceremony attended by the Governor, local civil and military authorities as well as MONUC and UN agencies. Funding for this project was obtained from the Belgian Government through the Belgian Project that has been established to combat sexual violence in the DRC.

The project covers the Equateur, Orientale and Maniema provinces and provides medical, psycho-social and legal assistance to victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence. Given the fact that frequent prison escapes of persons convicted of rape and other serious human rights violations represent a serious setback in the fight against impunity, it was decided to allocate part of the funds of the project to the rehabilitation of prison cells in order to prevent such escapes.

Implication of the FARDC in Human Rights violations

12. In North- Kivu, on 18 September 2007, during market day in the localities of Bunagana and Tchengerero, Groupement of Jomba, in Rutshuru territory, 38 civilians were arrested for unknown reasons by pro-Nkunda soldiers. Twenty-one of them reportedly paid money in exchange for their release. Local sources revealed that the remaining 17 civilians were arbitrarily executed. The same sources added that over 200 young men, aged between 16 and 30, including children and students, were forcibly recruited by Nkunda in the locality of Muheto-Nyamitaba, North-Kivu Province. Young men, who resisted forced recruitment or escaped upon recruitment, were subsequently executed.

On 20 September, three new recruits, residents of the locality of Mule Mule, Groupement of Karuba, collectivity of Bahunde, North-Kivu, who attempted to escape from the recruitment camp, were shot dead by pro-Nkunda soldiers.

13. Several civilians in Masisi territory, North-Kivu Province, have been victims of reprisal attacks as a result of the recent fighting between pro-Nkunda elements and Government troops. According to a reliable source, on 8 September, the Principal of the Buyaga Primary School was abducted and later killed by a group of Mayi Mayi combatants who accused him of supporting Laurent Nkunda. He was reportedly taken to the market place and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and succumbed to his injuries. A farmer from the Rushoga village in Bitonga locality was accused of supporting the Government troops and subsequently strangled to death by CNDP elements on 2 September 2007.

14. On the night of 25-26 August 2007, a woman was shot dead by three men in military uniform believed to be FARDC soldiers in Minembwe, South Kivu Province. Still in Minembwe, an unidentified FARDC soldier allegedly shot dead a woman at the local market on 31 August 2007. The Office of the Military Prosecutor in Uvira is conducting investigations into both cases.

15. In South- Kivu, during the night of 12-13 September 2007, in the locality of Bushumba (20 km north of Bukavu, in the territory of Kabare), a civilian was allegedly shot dead by two armed men in FARDC uniform. According to local sources, the victim had resisted an attempt to extort him. The same night, this time in the neighborhood of Mumosho (10 km at the outskirts of Bukavu), a young woman was allegedly shot dead by two armed men in FARDC uniform. Local sources indicated that the victim was taken out of her home and subsequently shot at point blank range.

16. On the night of 25-26 September 2007, in Nyamasi (2 km from Kasenyi, Ituri), a civilian was allegedly shot dead by an armed man in uniform, believed to be a FARDC soldier.

17. On 23 September 2007, in the collectivity of Bwito, territory of Rutshuru ( 82 km north of Goma), a motorcyclist was allegedly shot dead on his way from Kalengera by armed men in military uniform. Local sources indicated that the victim was killed on the grounds that he was not able to give money to the assailants.

18. On 18 September 2007, in Yema- 95 km west of Matadi-, Bas-Congo Province, a minor was allegedly gang raped by two FARDC soldiers and a civilian. The alleged perpetrators also attempted to rape two other women. The two FARDC soldiers were arrested and detained at the Yema PNC holding cell to await their eventual transfer to the office of the Military Prosecutor.

19. On the sidelines of the fighting between Pro-Nkunda and governmental forces in North-Kivu, six women were allegedly raped by FARDC soldiers of the Echo mixed Brigade lead by Col. Padiri, in the villages of Bugurama, Bitaba, Bwirunde, Mukonyi and Kiluku.

20. On 5 September 2007, in Goma in North- Kivu Province, a minor was allegedly raped during an attack on a private residence by five unidentified armed men, in military uniform. During the attack, the owner of the residence received a bullet in the shoulder and his wife was beaten upon a rape attempt. The assailants also extorted some valuables.

21. An 11-year-old girl was allegedly abducted from 29 July to 2 August 2007 and raped several times during her abduction by a caporal of the 3rd Integrated Brigade of FARDC based in Kavumu village, 35 km north of Bukavu in South-Kivu.

22. In Ituri, on the night of 11-12 September 2007, in the locality of Eru, Otso collectivity (3 km south of Aru), two armed FARDC soldiers allegedly attempted to rape a 13-year-old girl and her aunt. Alerted by their cries, the population intervened. One of soldiers escaped while the other fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd but he was neutralized by two young men, who seized his weapon. The perpetrator was subsequently arrested and detained at the PNC holding cells in Aru.

23. On the night of 22-23 September 2007, four civilians of Hutu origin were allegedly abducted and subjected to ill-treatment by pro-Nkunda soldiers in the village of Kahusa, Bashali-Kahembe locality, in Masisi territory, allegedly with the complicity of the local police.

24. In Kasaï Oriental, during the night of 4 to 5 September 2007, nine armed men in FARDC uniforms allegedly broke into two houses in Lubilanji II, Dibindi commune in Mbuji Mayi, threatened the residents with death and took away money as well as other items.

25. In North-Kivu, on 3 September 2007, a man was allegedly arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained and extorted by nine soldiers of the military intelligence service of 8th Military region, under the command of a Captain, on the grounds that he was a CNDP (Nkunda's political party) collaborator. The victim allegedly paid 300 USD in exchange for his release.

26. On 8 September 2007, in Goma in North- Kivu Province, a mother and her three children (two minors and a five-month baby) were allegedly abducted by armed men in military uniform aboard a military vehicle, believed to be FARDC soldiers. The victims were taken to an unknown destination. Two days earlier, two men had reportedly paid a visit to the victim's residence to find out whether the head of the family was not affiliated to the CNDP, Nkunda's party.

27. UNHRO continued to document cases of human rights violations against members of the Banyamulenge community in South Kivu. On 8 September 2007, at Kanguli ( 30 km southeast of Minembwe), a young Munyamulenge man was allegedly shot in the chest and left leg by an armed man in uniform, speaking Kibembe and believed to be an element of a dissident group.

On 9 September 2007, in Rusabika (27 km northwest of Uvira), two men from the Banyamulenge community were allegedly beaten up and extorted by a soldier of the 8th Integrated Brigade (IB). In an unrelated case, on 12 September 2007, in Ngendo (37 km north of Uvira) a civilian was allegedly seriously injured with a machete by a soldier of the same 8th IB. The victim had resisted extortion.

28. On 30 August 2007, in the village of Nsayi, territory of Kongolo, Katanga Province, a young civilian was shot in the right leg by a FARDC soldier, reportedly because he refused to give him a cigarette. The perpetrator has not yet been arrested.

29. On 18 September 2007, in Fatundu, territory of Bagata, 160 km southwest of Bandundu in Bandundu Province, a minor was allegedly beaten up by FARDC soldiers assigned to the Office of the Military Prosecutor for having resisted the arrest of a family member.

30. During a monitoring visit to Kolwezi, Katanga Province, the UNHRO observed that top local political and military officials were involved in the illegal trafficking and exploitation of natural resources. On 7 September 2007, the Commander of the 65th FARDC Brigade in Kolwezi and his men were intercepted, on the Kolwezi-Lubumbashi highway, in possession of 8 tons of copper from Gecamines. The Commander escaped whereas his men were apprehended. The case was transferred to the Office of the Military Prosecutor, who has also made a representation to the 6th Military Region HQ.

Implication of the PNC in human rights violations 31. On 27 September 2007, in Kolwezi, 360 km from Lubumbashi, in Katanga Province, two artisanal miners were allegedly killed during a violent confrontation with the local PNC in charge of the protection of the mining site of Gecamines. It can be recalled that on 17 September 2007, a number of miners and two PNC agents had sustained injuries during a confrontation between more than 500 artisanal miners and the local PNC in Kolwezi. Four artisanal miners had later been arrested and transferred to the Office of the Public Prosecutor. Local sources indicated that the artisanal miners had resisted eviction from the exploitation site. The local political and administrative authorities had apparently ordered their eviction on security grounds, given the proximity of the exploitation site to the local Presidential residence.

32. On 15 September 2007, in the Commune of Masina, Kinshasa, during a cordon and search operation against alleged drug addicts, a 17-year-old civilian was shot dead by the PNC Anti-Drug Unit. The alleged perpetrators were arrested and detained at the PNC Special Service holding cell (Kin Mazière).

33. During the night of 22-23 September 2007, in the Commune of Masina, Kinshasa, a young student was allegedly shot dead by an officer of the Rapid Intervention Police. The victim had reportedly resisted extortion of his mobile phone.

34. On the night of 12-13 September 2007, a woman who was detained together with her baby in the holding cell of the Office of the public Prosecutor in Kananga, Kasaï Occidental Province, was raped by a PNC officer. On 13 September 2007, the perpetrator was indicted, tried in flagrante delicto and sentenced to seven years imprisonment and ordered to pay the sum of 100.000 FC as judicial fees and 200.000 FC in damages to the victim.

35. On 24 August 2007, near Kanunka village (about 35 km south of Manono in north-eastern Katanga Province), four minors were allegedly raped by two elements of the PNC. The victims were intercepted and subsequently raped aside the road in the bush.

36. On 31 August 2007, in Mbuji Mayi, Kasaï Oriental Province, a young girl was allegedly subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the PNC. The victim was allegedly beaten up and undressed in public. Still in Mbuji Mayi, a civilian was allegedly subjected to ill-treatment by two PNC officers. The victim had resisted arrest in place of his brother.

37. On 31 August 2007, a 50-year-old woman was attacked and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by a group of armed men in PNC uniforms in Minkoka neighborhood, Mbuji Mayi, Kasaï Oriental. The victim was extorted, beaten up and undressed. She was later admitted to the local hospital in a very critical condition.

38. On 18 September 2007, a civilian was allegedly tied up, handcuffed, beaten up and exposed to the rain in the village of Bakamba, territory of Dimbelenge, Kasaï Occidental Province, by three PNC officers, including an OPJ. Local sources added that the victim has been hung to the branch of a tree for almost 12 hours by the three PNC officers.

39. On 2 September 2007, a man was allegedly arrested and subjected to ill-treatment by the commander of the PNC station in the locality of Seko, Kutu territory (200 km northeast of Bandundu town in Bandundu province), on the grounds that he had seized the weapon of a policeman on duty. Local sources revealed that the victim is currently in a serious health condition. The victim was released upon UNHRO intervention. The alleged perpetrator was arrested and transferred to the Office of the Military Prosecutor.

40. On 18 August 2007, in the village of Ikila, Oshwé territory (250 km east of Bandundu ville, Bandundu province), a man was arrested and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the commander of the local PNC. The victim has been hung and tied to a tree for several hours. He allegedly paid money in exchange for his release.

41. On 12 September 2007, the leader of the South-Kivu Drivers' Union was allegedly arrested and detained by eight PNC officers on the grounds that he had incited his colleagues to boycott the payment of their vehicle insurance. The victim claimed that he was detained incommunicado and subjected to torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment by the local PNC.

42. On 7 September 2007, in Tshipata village, 23 km from Tshimbulu in Kasai Occidental, the commander of the PNC station in Dibaya together with five policemen allegedly broke into the private residence of a man. The victim was arrested, severely beaten up, undressed in front of his children and detained at PNC holding cell in Dibaya. Local sources indicated that the victim is currently in a serious health condition.

43. On 23 August 2007, a man was allegedly arrested for debt by the police commander of Kasese PNC station, 196 km northeast from Kindu in Maniema province. The victim was allegedly subjected to ill-treatment. He was released upon payment of his debt.

44. In Kasaï Oriental, a local chief of Bakua Lukusa groupement in Bakwa Kalondji sector/ Tshilenge territory was allegedly arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained from 23 to 31 July 2007 and subject to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the local PNC acting on the orders of the Territorial Administrator (AT) of Tshilenge, for unknown reasons. On 28 August 2007, the victim was transferred to the Mbuji Mayi central prison. He was granted bail three days later. The victim has allegedly filed a complaint against the AT.

45. On 4 September 2007, a man was allegedly intercepted at a road block by four PNC officers in Bonzola neighborhood in Mbuji Mayi, Kasaï Oriental. The victim was threatened with death and extorted. Local sources revealed that the strategy and modus operandi of those policemen consist in building up artificial and illegal road blocks to intercept and extort the local population.

46. During the night of 7-8 September 2007, a businesswoman was allegedly subjected to ill-treatment by armed men in PNC uniform at her residence in the neighborhood of Mikela, Commune of Dibindi, Mbuji Mayi. The victim was also extorted by the assailants who threatened her with death. The victim has lodged a formal complaint with the Office of the Military Prosecutor.

47. During the night of 20 - 21 August 2007, six men in PNC uniform allegedly broke into the house of a woman in Macionyi neighborhood, Bondoyi commune, Mwene Ditu, Kasai Oriental. The victim was threatened and subsequently extorted by the assailants. Still in Macionyi neighborhood, Mwene Ditu in Kasai Oriental, during the night of 1-2 September 2007, six armed men in police uniforms allegedly broke into the house of a woman and took away all the valuables.

48. On 4 September 2007, in Mbuji Mayi, Kasaï Oriental, three minors were allegedly arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained by the PNC, in violation of article 5 of the 6 December 1960 Decree on Enfance délinquante, which stipulates that a minor upon arrest must be transferred before a judge of the Tribunal de Paix. The victims were released the following day upon intervention of the UNHRO Mbuji Mayi

Implication of other security services in Human Rights violations

49. On 21 September 2007, in Luebo, Kasaï Occidental Province, a civilian died as a result of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment inflicted upon him by four agents of the local Mining Office and one agent of ANR. On 28 July 2007, the victim had been allegedly arrested, detained at the office of the Chef de Bureau de mines and subjected to ill-treatment in the presence of the latter on the grounds that he was not in possession of a legal mining permit. The victim was admitted to the local hospital in a very critical state on 29 July 2007. He succumbed to his injuries on 21 September 2007. The agent of ANR and all four of the agents of the local mining office and the Chef de Bureau de mines office were arrested and detained at the local prison awaiting their judgments in their trial the before Tribunal de Grande Instance Luebo.

50. Human rights activists continued to be subjected to harassment, intimidation and ill-treatment by members of the security forces because of their activities. The most recent case reported to the UNHRO took place in the village of Kwasa-Kwasa ' 19 km from Kamonia, in Kasaï Occidental Province on 23 August 2007. A member of a local human rights NGO was reportedly severely beaten by three ANR agents (Agence Nationale de Renseignements) who also issued the following threats against human rights activists in the area: 'We will beat them one by one until they leave the village.'

The beating was related to an intervention made by the activist three days earlier to prevent a case of arbitrary arrest and ill-treatment of two young men from Kwasa-Kwasa. A reliable source indicated that the victim was arrested again on 17 September 2007 by the ANR, who falsely accused him of fighting with the wife of an ANR agent but was released the following day.

51. ANR continues to act beyond its jurisdiction by dealing with common law cases that are in no way linked to State security matters. The case in point is that of three members of a church in Kananga (Kasai Occidental), who were arrested and detained on 1 September 2007 by four ANR agents. The victims were involved in an in-house conflict about the inheritance of the old patriarch of the church who had passed away. The victims were released on 4 September 2007.

52. On 28 August 2007, in the locality of Ikila, in Oshwé territory (240 km from Bandundu town in Bandundu province), a woman was allegedly arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained in place of her husband by the local ANR.

53. On 17 September 2007 in Kabimba, 60 km north of Kalemie, in northern Katanga Province, nine Banyamulenge civilians, including four men, three women and two minors, were arbitrarily arrested and detained by the ANR, DGM and PNC, on the grounds that they were Rwandan Tutsis loyal to Laurent Nkunda who had infiltrated the area. The victims were released upon intervention of the local authorities.

54. On 22 September 2007, a human rights activist was allegedly arbitrarily arrested and briefly detained by the ANR in Kabamba (6 km of Bakamba, territory of Dimbelenge, Kasaï Occidental Province), on the grounds that he had organized a meeting without informing the local ANR.

Implication of Armed Groups in Human Rights Abuses 55. On 15 September 2007, two sisters, one of whom was 17 years old, were arbitrarily executed by armed men in military uniform identified as dissidents of the Moramvia and Group of 47 movements in Mashuba- 63 km north-west of Uvira- South Kivu Province- in what appeared to be a reprisal attack. According to reliable sources, the perpetrators were in search of a civilian whom they considered to be a FARDC spy. Since they did not find him, they reportedly decided to kill the girls. The victims' father was reportedly missing. On 14 September 2007, fighting broke out between the dissidents and soldiers of the FARDC 8th Integrated Brigade in Kitembe (in the moyens plateaux). Most of the residents of Kitembe sought refuge in Mashuba after the fighting and were pursued by the insurgents.

56. On 13 September 2007, the interim Locality Chief of Nyamilima, 45 km northeast of Rutsuhuru in North Kivu was killed by armed robbers, believed to be Mayi Mayi or FDLR. Exactly one month earlier, the previous Locality Chief had been killed by the FDLR.

57. In North-Kivu, especially in the localities of Kisharo, Kiseguru and Katwiguru, the UNHRO Goma established that Mayi Mayi combatants were recruiting children.

58. On the night of 17-18 September 2007, the village of Kakenge- 41km north of Bukavu, South Kivu Province, was reportedly attacked and pillaged by a group of around 8 FDLR combatants. Two villagers were injured during the attack. Another group of FDLR elements also attacked and pillaged two villages in the territory of Mwenga- 175 km south-west of Bukavu. The assailants reportedly abducted 8 villagers who were used to carry the looted items.

59. On 12 September 2007, in Masumbeya, 20 km south of Marabo in Ituri, Province Orientale, a 10-year-old girl was allegedly abducted in her private residence, by the Force de Résistance Patriotique en Ituri (FRPI), on the grounds that her father, a former FRPI nurse, betrayed them as he had abandoned the militia.

Administration of justice/Fight against impunity 60. On 6 September 2007, two local traders were allegedly arrested in Punia (240 km northeast from Kindu in Maniema Province) for 'atteinte à la sécurité de l'Etat, by the local PNC acting on the orders of the provincial Governor. The latter suspected them of collaborating with artisanal miners from Province Orientale, also suspected of being followers of Jean-Pierre Bemba and infiltrating his province. The victims were later transferred to the Office of the Military Prosecutor in Kindu. During a meeting with UNHRO Kindu, the military Prosecutor who had signed the writ of arrest revealed that the reason the detention was still unclear. This illustrates the continuous interference of local political authorities in the administration of justice.

61. In Ituri, on 28 September 2007, a FARDC soldier of the 6th Integrated Brigade in Songomoya, charged with murder, was sentenced to five years in prison by the Bunia Military Tribunal. Still in Ituri, a PNC commander in Nyakunde, who had arrested and raped his sister in law while in detention, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by the same Military Tribunal.

Prisons and Detention Facilities

62. On 5 September 2007, a young lady who was arrested and kept in the same holding cell with male detainees at the PNC holding cell in Kime ( 12 km of Kabongo, Katanga Province), was allegedly gang raped by her ten co-detainees, who allegedly acted under the influence of an illegal drug. The victim was admitted to the local hospital.

63. In Province Orientale, on 3 September 2007, detainees at the Kisangani Central Prison attempted a mass escape, but PNC thwarted their effort by surrounding the prison and firing gun shots. The inmates subsequently staged a revolt to protest against the transfer of some of them to the Osio Detention Centre. The local military and civil justice officials visited the prison on the morning of 4 September to assess the situation.

During a meeting with the City Mayor of Kisangani accompanied by PNC and UNHRO Kisangani, the detainees handed over a memorandum to the city Mayor, in which they raised two major issues, namely the slowness and ineffectiveness of the criminal justice delivery system, the lack of food and medical assistance. In reaction to the memorandum, the City Mayor, ipso facto, donated food to the detainees and promised to facilitate the visit of the Governor to the prison to discuss their plight and grievances.

64. The security situation at Kisangani Central Prison remained volatile throughout the month under review. On the night of 11-12 September 2007, six inmates, commonly known as 'shegue' (street children), escaped from the Kisangani prison. On the night of 19 September 2007, three inmates, including two soldiers and a civilian, escaped from the Kisangani Central Prison. The civilian was recaptured later.

65. On the night of 19 September 2007, the UNHRO documented three further prison escapes, respectively in Mbandaka (Equateur (Province), Kikwit (Bandundu Province) and Matadi (Bas-Congo Province). In Mbandaka, two inmates, charged with 'criminal conspiracy', escaped from the Mbandaka Central prison. In Kikwit, three inmates escaped from the prison in complicity with the prison guards. On 15 September 2007, in Matadi, an inmate charged with theft escaped from the Matadi Central prison.

66. On the night of 25-26 September 2007, two major prison escapes took place, one in Vuhovi, territory of Beni, North- Kivu and the other in Kavumu, South Kivu Province. Fifty inmates, including 46 military prisoners, escaped from the newly rehabilitated prison of Vuhovi located some 75 km southeast of Beni. Seventeen of the prisoners were serving sentences of between five to ten years while 22 had been sentenced to death. Approximately 30 prisoners escaped from the prison in Kavumu, Kabare territory, South-Kivu Province. In July 2007, all inmates at this detention facility had escaped by making a hole in the prison wall.

67. In Ituri, during the night from 1 to 2 September 2007, three detainees, including two minors accused of rape and theft, escaped Aru prison. Similarly, during the night from 5 to 6 September 2007, one detainee for illegal possession of weapons escaped from Mahagi prison.

68. Still in Ituri, on 26 September 2007, two inmates (ex-combatants), charged with armed robbery, escaped from the Mahagi prison. One of them was captured later.

69. On 22 September 2007, two suspects died of cholera at the PNC holding cell in Lubudi, 100 km northeast of Kolwezi in Katanga Province.

70. On 29 September 2007, eight of the Bavi massacre convicts were transferred from Bunia to the high security prison of Buluo, Likasi, Katanga Province.

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Endnotes:

1) Some of the incidents under investigation took place in August and July 2007.

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