The United Nations (UN) has warned that some acts of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may amount to “war crimes.”
UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on Friday that about 1,300 civilians had been killed in violence in the DR Congo in the past eight months, adding that more than half a million people had fled their homes.
Some of the acts of violence “may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes,” she said.
According to the statement, violence has surged in the eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu in recent weeks, “with disastrous repercussions for the civilian population.”
Bachelet’s office said armed groups had committed massacres and atrocities, and the government forces were also responsible for human rights violations.
“I am appalled by the increase in brutal attacks on innocent civilians by armed groups, and by the reaction of the military and security forces who have also committed grave violations,” Bachelet said.
Various armed groups have been active in the country’s mineral-rich eastern provinces for decades, fighting over control of the territory and its valuable resources.
Bachelet urged Congolese authorities to “take all necessary measures to prevent the repetition of such grave violations.”