DR Congo

DRC: RCD-Goma renews call for independent inquiry into Ankoro ''massacres''

NAIROBI, 24 February (IRIN) - The Rwandan-backed Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-Goma (RCD-Goma) rebel movement has renewed its call for an independent inquiry into the November 2002 killings in Ankoro, a village in the southeastern Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The killings were allegedly perpetrated by the Forces armees congolaises (FAC), the government army.

A Kinshasa commission of inquiry, headed by DRC Human Rights Minister Ntumba Luaba, reported on 29 November 2002 that about 45 people had been killed, about 100 homes burned, and 14,000 people displaced.

That assessment contrasted with an earlier report by a local human rights body, the Commission de vulgarisation des droits de l'homme et de developpement, which reported 104 dead, some 1,200 homes burned, and about 75,000 people displaced. The rights body also said on 10 November that the fighting had erupted when the FAC began burning and pillaging homes and shops in the area.

Speaking on 22 February on rebel-controlled RTNC radio in Goma, the RCD-Goma spokesman, Jean-Pierre Lola Kisanga, said his movement had reiterated its call for the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry "in order to establish facts and responsibilities on the Ankoro events", alleging that the Kinshasa government and DRC President Joseph Kabila were "insensitive to the allegations against some FAC elements".

The rebel movement has also threatened to file a case against Kabila before the International Criminal Court for alleged involvement in this and other "crimes against humanity".

Ankoro is the birthplace of the late president, Laurent-Desire Kabila, assassinated on 16 January 2001 by a bodyguard.


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