A Ugandan Islamist rebel group committed human rights abuses in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last year that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to a U.N. report published on Wednesday. Reuters report:
The Allied Democratic Forces killed at least 237 civilians in the last quarter of 2014, including 65 women and 35 children, the U.N. human rights office said in a statement. “In total, ADF combatants attacked 35 villages. Attackers used machetes, hammers and knives, among other weapons, to wound or execute civilians. Some had their throats slit, were shot at while trying to flee, or were burned alive in their homes.”
Civil society groups in eastern Congo said the ADF had killed 13 people with machetes and hatchets in two overnight assaults over the last week. “These violations, which were both systematic and extremely brutal, may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the U.N. statement said.
Dozens of armed factions are active in Congo’s chaotic east, continuing to fight for control over its vast reserves of gold, diamonds and tin following a 1998-2003 war that killed millions and drew in more than a half dozen neighboring countries.
The U.N. report said that civilians in the Beni area where the ADF attacks occurred remain extremely vulnerable to violence. This threat, it added, had spread to the Irumu region, also in the east of the vast central African state, where violations by ADF combatants have been reported this year.