EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 22/03/93
UA 391/93 Fear of extrajudicial execution 4 November 1993
CONGO At least 15 people killed and dozens injured
Amnesty International is gravely concerned at reports that at least 15 and
possibly many more people were killed by government troops after fighting broke
out between government security forces and armed opposition supporters in the
capital, Brazzaville, on 3 November 1993. Amnesty International fears that
some of those killed may have been executed extrajudicially. The organization
is appealing to the government to take immediate steps to prevent extrajudicial
executions and the unlawful use of lethal force. Amnesty International is also
gravely concerned at reports of killings by opposition groups.
The fighting reportedly broke out when government forces moved into the Bacongo
suburb of Brazzaville where a clandestine opposition radio station began
broadcasting on 31 October. The violence was sparked off by the kidnap on
1 November of two pro-government civil servants by armed opposition supporters
demanding the release of two of their members arrested for illegally acquiring
arms. The two civil servants were released on 2 November after the government
issued an ultimatum.
On 3 November the security forces attacked the Bacongo opposition stronghold,
ostensibly to seize weapons used by the opposition to attack members of the
security forces and government supporters. At least 15 people were killed
and 100 seriously injured, in circumstances which remain unclear. The security
forces used automatic and heavy weapons, including rockets, in an apparently
indiscriminate use of lethal force, in which many houses were destroyed or
damaged. Five members of the security forces were also killed by opposition
gunmen. Sporadic shooting was still being reported on 4 November.
Political violence broke out in Brazzaville in June 1993 when the second round
of voting in parliamentary elections was declared invalid by the opposition.
At least 30 people were killed in the disturbances which followed. Human
rights abuses were known to have been carried out by both government security
forces and opposition supporters, many of whom were armed. In July, armed
opposition supporters rampaged through Brazzaville ransacking homes and
attacking supporters of President Pascal Lissouba.
An internationally-brokered agreement in August halted the disturbances. The
second round of voting, which the opposition had boycotted in June due to alleged
irregularities in the first round, went ahead in October with the government
retaining a majority. Investigations into the first round of voting are still
incomplete. Under the terms of the August peace agreement all armed civilians
were to be disarmed. However, the recommendations of the agreement are not
known to have been implemented and armed opposition militias appear to be