EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 62/01/93
UA 48/93 Extrajudicial executions 25 February 1993
ZAIRE: At least 15 civilians in Kinshasa
Amnesty International is concerned at reports that at least 15 civilians,
including a Red Cross worker, an 11-year-old child and a pregnant woman, were
extrajudicially killed by Zairian troops in the capital, Kinshasa, in a series
on incidents on 22 February 1993. The troops responsible are believed to be
members of President Mobutu's elite Division Spéciale Présidentielle (DSP),
Special Presidential Division.
The killings are said to have taken place in incidents that followed the killing
of a civilian called Ekofo on 20 February 1993, reportedly following a dispute.
The soldiers responsible are thought to have been paratroopers from a division
of the armed forces from the Centre d'Entraînement des Troupes Aéroportée
(CETA), a central airforce training camp. The following day a reprisal attack
by other civilians resulted in the death of a DSP soldier who apparently had
nothing to do with the previous killing. On 23 February, members of the DSP,
enraged by the killing of the soldier, went on a punitive raid. They shot
into a crowd of civilians in Kingasini, an outlying district of Kinshasa, before
realising that Ekofo was being buried in Gombe, another district of Kinshasa.
They then set out for Gombe, killing 13 people and injuring a dozen others
on the way, and finally killed two more who were burying Ekofo at Gombe cemetery.
These incidents intensify Amnesty International's concern that members of the
elite DSP are carrying out extrajudicial executions with impunity following
the recent breakdown in the political situation.
These killings follow recent disturbances in January 1993 in Kinshasa when
over 300 people were killed during riots, including civilians and foreign
nationals. The violence started when soldiers, angry at being paid in
controversial new banknotes which had been boycotted by opposition supporters,
went on the rampage. The five-million-zaire notes, which had been declared
illegal tender by the Prime Minister, Etienne Tshisekedi, long time opponent
of President Mobutu, were refused by market traders and businesses. The riots
were eventually violently suppressed by the DSP. The unrest was the worst
since September 1991 when troops rioted because they had not been paid; as
a result 20,000 foreigners were evacuated from the country.
Members of the DSP are reported to have been responsible for the extrajudicial
execution of 37 protesters during a demonstration in Kinshasa in February 1992.