Speak Out Against the Killings in Beni, DR Congo!
Despite a robust presence of the DRC’s and the UN military forces in Beni, civilians have experienced a series of horrific massacres.
Civilians are dying as the world has turned its attention away from the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Since 2014, residents of Beni, DRC, have lived under unexplained vicious attacks. Houses are burned down, civilians are killed, bodies of young children and women mutilated by armed groups and yet there’s no global outrage about this tragedy.
The senseless killings of people in Beni are happening under the noses of the DRC’s army Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and the United Nation Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), deployed in the Beni area to “eradicate” the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group from Uganda operating in the region.
Reports from the UN Group of Experts have pointed to a more complex situation with multiple perpetrators and accomplices. These reports have also alleged the involvement of some FARDC soldiers in the killings as accomplices. The government and the UN have done little to investigate
We know there are FARDC officers who collude with ADF. But we don’t know who.
The failure of military operations to protect civilians in Beni
In 2014, the government forces, together with the UN forces (MONUSCO), launched an ambitious military campaign dubbed Sokola 1 (meaning “Cleaning”) against armed groups in the region of Beni. The government and MONUSCO presented this campaign as a success, citing some positive achievements in destabilizing the ADF group in 2014. However some experts, including the Congo Research Group, have blasted the deployment of military arsenal with very little result in protecting civilians in Beni. Killings haven’t stopped in Beni since.
What is most appalling is that despite multiple attacks by armed groups, the Congolese government never conducted an independent investigation to evaluate the failures and to find better ways to protect civilians. In June 2016, after a UN Group of Experts report highlighted damning evidence of support from FARDC officers to some armed groups that carried out killings, the government announced that it would carry out an investigation. However, the authorities haven’t communicated any progress on this investigation.
ALAIN WANDIMOYI/AFP/Getty Images
Beni is bleeding. The world doesn't seem to care.
Families are being torn apart. Children wake up to being orphans, if they are lucky to survive the despicable attacks that killed their parents.
On 14 August 2016, media reported more than 36 civilians were killed in Rwangoma, a neighbourhood in Beni city. On 3 May 2016, the BBC reported that 17 people were killed around Erengeti village, including at least eight women and four children, according to the official government statement. They were killed by machetes and a hoe. Both the Congolese army and the UN forces have a strong presence in the area. And yet, both failed to protect civilians.
On 20 November 2014, in villages of Tipiomba, Vemba and Masulukwede/Mbau, 120 people were killed. Sometimes, the killers beheaded their victims. The UN Group of Experts has identified at least four cases of beheading and several other cases of burning.
The population lives under constant fear of an attack, fear of speaking out on what they have witnessed and fear of reprisals if they denounce those suspected of the killings or their accomplices.
Where is the world’s outrage on Beni killings? Many Congolese often ask where the world’s solidarity is at when it comes to the killings in Beni. The world seems blind when Beni is bleeding.
As the massacres in eastern Congo illustrate, peace cannot be achieved at the expense of justice.
Demand justice for the victims of Beni killings in DRC
Send an urgent message to the DRC President and UN Secretary General to protect civilians in Beni.
Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations,
I the undersigned wish to express my concern about ongoing violence in Beni region (North Kivu) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in which more than 600 people have been killed.
I urge you, the DRC President and UN Secretary General, to take necessary steps to protect civilians in Beni, conduct an impartial investigation intothe killings in Beni and bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility for human rights violations or crimes under international law to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts without recourse to death penalty.
We have the impression that the FARDC and MONUSCO care more about their own interests than protecting the local population.
The figure that UN Group of Experts’ estimates is the number of civilians killed from October 2014 to March 2016
According to the Congo Research Group, between 11 200 and 11 700 FARDC soldiers are deployed in the region of Beni
More than 18000 United Nations’ military and police personnel are deployed in the DRC
From Hope to Horror in Beni
- 17 January 2014
- 2 October 2014
- 20 November 2014
- 5 September 2015
- 13 August 2016