Child soldiers, Cannibalism and other atrocities war brings to Congo

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The United Nations published a report on July 3 reporting violations and atrocities, such as cannibalism, committed in the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The conflict broke out in late 2016 between the militia of local leader Kamwina Nsapu, the Bana Mura group and the African nation’s armed forces along with other groups.

In particular, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (EACDH) pointed out that between January and May of this year, 2,858 violations were registered. In addition, the text in the UN report warns of the increase in these cases, which in the same period of 2017 reached 2,332.

Displaced people

The international organization points out that there are now 4.4 million internally displaced people throughout the country due to violence. The UN expressed special concern about the hostile environment in the provinces of South and North Kivu, as well as in the provinces of Kasai and Maniema, where the number of operations of armed groups increased.

On the other hand, the report pointed to the fact that a third of the abuses, including sexual abuse, “seem to have been responsible to the Congolese armed forces.”

Also according to UN experts, in the armed conflict many children suffer because they are often forced by the militias to fight unarmed or only with sticks, “while the armed forces use automatic weapons.”

Cannibalism

Among other cruelties in the confrontation, the report points to cases of cannibalism: “One victim told us that in May 2017 she saw a group of Kamwina Nsapu militiamen carry female genitalia as medals,” the document quoted by Reuters reported.

Other victims reported seeing people cutting, cooking and eating human flesh and drinking blood.

The report also highlights cases where boys were forced to rape their mothers, girls were convinced that witchcraft would cause them to capture bullets, and other women were forced to choose between group rape or death.

Distrust in the electoral process

In this context, the UN document affirms that there are no guarantees of trust in the legitimacy of a possible electoral process, scheduled for December 23.

The UN notes that “intimidation of human rights activists and journalists has intensified and many cases of arbitrary arrests by security forces continue to be recorded.”

The document stresses that one of the reasons for the local crisis may be the excessive stay in the post of President Joseph Kabila, who came to power in 2001, when they killed his father Laurent-Désiré Kabila.

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