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Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville): Update to COG40974 of 12 March 2003 regarding the situation of people of the Lari ethnic group and whether they have been targeted by government forces

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 18 May 2004
Citation / Document Symbol COG42670.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville): Update to COG40974 of 12 March 2003 regarding the situation of people of the Lari ethnic group and whether they have been targeted by government forces, 18 May 2004, COG42670.E, available at: [accessed 11 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

No information on the specific situation of members of the Lari ethnic group during the time period March 2003 to May 2004, including their treatment by the government in power in May 2004, could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Previous reports (COG42571 of 6 May 2004, COG40974 of 12 March 2003, COG40661 of 28 November 2002 and COG39054 of 13 May 2002) have indicated that the Lari, an ethnic group concentrated in the Pool region of the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) have been targeted by government forces since 1997 (CIDCM 5 Dec. 2002) because of their support of exiled leader Bernard Kolélas, a former Prime Minister of the country (Africa Confidential. 22 Nov. 2002). The "Ninjas" are a militia created by Kolélas and drawn largely from ethnic Laris of the Pool region (CIDCM 5 Dec. 2002; Afrique-Express. 18 Apr. 2002). According to Africa Confidential, "Justice Minister Jean-Martin Mbemba [has admitted] both government forces and Ninjas committed atrocities in Pool, heartland of Lari support for exiled politician Bernard Kolélas" (ibid.).

Amnesty International reported that in 2002, "[r]epresentatives of the CNR (Conseil national de résistance) alleged that Congolese government forces continued to violate the human rights of unarmed civilians in the Pool region despite the existence of a peace accord signed in December 1999" (9 Apr. 2003, 26).

Two sources indicated that despite the peace accord signed 17 March 2003, the Pool region remained dangerous (Country Report 25 Feb. 2004; Refugees International 21 May 2003). According to a report by Global Security, "[m]ost of the Republic of Congo ... is at peace. Only the Pool region, south of the capital Brazzaville, remains unstable" (Global Security 23 Dec. 2003). According to this report, tens of thousands of people have been forced out of Pool as a result of the violence between government forces and the so-called "Ninja" fighters (ibid.).

Amnesty International has reported that fighting continued in the Pool region into 2003 and that most of the victims were unarmed civilians who were accused by each side of supporting the other (9 Apr. 2003).

It has been reported that the civil war resumed in 2002 because the Lari militia (Ninja) were frustrated by the government's failure to fulfil the agreements of the peace deal (CIDCM 5 Dec. 2002).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Africa Confidential. 22 November 2002. Vol. 43 No. 23. "Price of Silence." [Accessed 12 May 2004]

Afrique-Express. 18 April 2002. No 248. "Les "Ninjas" Une unité de miliciens créée par Bernard Kolélas." [Accessed 18 May 2004]

Amnesty International. 9 April 2003. "Republic of Congo: A Past that Haunts the Future." (AI Index: AFR 22/001/2003) [Accessed 12 May 2004]

Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM). 5 December 2002. Michael Johns. "Lari of the Republic of Congo." [Accessed 12 May 2004]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003. 25 February 2004. United States Department of State. "Republic of Congo." . [Accessed 12 May 2004]

Global Security. 23 December 2003. "Republic of Congo Civil War." [Accessed 12 May 2004]

Refugees International. 21 May 2003. "Forgotten People: Republic of Congo (ROC)." Marni Zelnick. [Accessed 12 May 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites: Africa Action, Africa: South of the Sahara, African Studies Center,, Altapedia online, Center for World Indigenous Studies, CNN, Congopage, Congo-Transparence, Cultural Survival, Energy Information Administration (EIA), Ethnologue, Ethno-Net Africa, European Initiative for Human Rights and Democracy, Freedom House, Infoplease, International Service for Human Rights, IRIN News, Médecins sans frontières, Minority Rights Group International, Norwegian Council for Africa, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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