US News Massacre of civilians in the DRC: arrests of army and police officers in Béni

07:40  09 august  2020
07:40  09 august  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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On 14 August 2016, multiple assailants raided the district of Rwangoma in the city of Beni which is located in North Kivu of the Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC ). The city is located in the popular Virunga National Park. At least 64 people were killed, as 64 bodies had been located during the search.

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Un membre des Forces armées congolaises, photographié à Béni en décembre 2018. (Photo d'illustration). © ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP A member of the Congolese Armed Forces, photographed in Béni in December 2018 (Photo illustration).

Senior officers of the Congolese army and national police are targeted by investigations into the massacre of the population in 2017 in Nganza in central Kasai. According to several NGOs, around 300 civilians assimilated to the militiamen of Kamwina Nsapu had been killed. Friday, 7 officers of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) and a senior officer of the Congolese national police were arrested on this subject Friday in Beni (North Kivu). They are suspected of being involved in the violence.

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From our correspondent in Kinshasa, Patient Ligodi

Christian Kongolo Kambale, deputy provincial commissioner of the Congolese national police in Ituri, was summoned by the military justice in Beni for confrontation with other co-accused. This Friday he was confronted with six army officers. The others are taken into police custody, but the commissioner is on a provisional release regime while the investigation is pending, according to a military justice source.

Pressure from the ICC, the UN and the United States

During the period of the killings of Nganza , Christian Kongolo Kambale assumed the functions of provincial commissioner of the Congolese national police in Kasai-Central. He is not the only city. The arrests began about a month ago on the basis of a rogatory commission that was set up. According to military justice, the process was accelerated thanks to testimonies obtained from Congolese returning from Angola.

There is also, according to some sources, the pressure exerted by the International Criminal Court but also the UN tired of seeing all the officers suspected by the military justice being sent to the front in Beni; which prevented any cooperation. Washington has also reportedly threatened to suspend the process of resuming military cooperation.

As for Beni, the arrests are not yet over, we learn. At the end of the hearings, the documents in the case will be transmitted to the senior military auditor in Kananga.

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