RAPAPORT… A United Nations peacekeeping mission visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced on Saturday their alarm over reports that the March 23 Movement (M23) was forcefully recruiting members and allegedly killing and illegally detaining civilians.
The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) warned the M23 that the group will be accountable if the claims show merit. “The mission condemns all serious human rights violations attributed to the members of M23 and reiterates its call to the M23 to fully respect human rights and international humanitarian law,” said Abdallah Wafy, the deputy special representative of the UN Secretary-General in the DRC in charge of the rule of law.
The mission received information that three of 10 people were killed on July 22 at Kibumba after trying to escape forced M23 recruitment. Additionally, the organization received information that the looting of about 20 homes in Kiwanja involved M23 members.
The M23 is also accused of blocking humanitarian aid to areas devastated by fighting between armed groups, such as the M23, and Congolese armed forces (FARDC) in eastern DRC. More than 100,000 people were displaced in recent mid-July confrontations, joining the 2.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs). “These actions by the rebel group come at a time when many displaced persons are in dire need of humanitarian assistance such as food, shelter, water, healthcare and sanitation,” according to MONUSCO.
Some of the M23 members, including Sultani Makenga, were involved in past human rights violations, such as the 2008 Kiwanja extra-judicial executions.