DR Congo

MONUC appeals to the DRC government to bring those responsible for the Kanyola massacre to justice

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During the weekly press conference of May 30 2007, MONUC condemned the massacres of civilians in Kanyola in South Kivu, which took place on the night of May 26 and 27 last, and appealed to the Congolese government to pursue and bring to justice those responsible for the atrocities.

The initial death toll of the tragedy is 18 civilians, including women and children who were killed by machetes and other implements, as well as 27 wounded, 18 of which were brought to hospital.

According to MONUC spokesperson Kemal Saiki, this massacre was committed by elements suspected to be part of the FDLR/RASTA group that attacked the villages of Nyabuluze and Muhungu, 7km from Kanyola in the Walungu sector in the province of South Kivu, in north eastern DRC.

"All the victims were killed in their sleep. These attacks were carried out in the greatest silence, with machetes, bayonettes, knives and axes in order to avoid the use of firearms that would have revealed their presence," Mr. Saiki said.

Furthermore, at 3am in the morning, the assailants were surprised by a MONUC patrol which intervened and opened fire on them while they were preparing to attack Chihamba, a third village. The assailants subsequently fled.

Following the massacres, MONUC activated two Mobile Operational Bases on Monday May 28, to secure the Kanyola Walungu axis.

MONUC reminded those present that the protection of civilian populations was at the heart of its mandate, and the protection of national territory in the DRC was the primary responsibility of its government, its armed forces and the national police. Therefore, MONUC demanded the government to do its utmost to ensure that this tragedy will not happen again.

Following the massacre, a mission deployed by OCHA, UNICEF and IRC (International Rescue Committee) observed the displacement of people from Kanyola centre along the axis towards Budodo, as well as a small movement of another group of people towards Walungu centre.

Yesterday MONUC also deployed an evaluation mission that was unfortunately unable to reach the affected villages, after being turned back by angry and upset locals. Although their reaction is understandable, it's regrettable that the mission was unable to complete its work.