|UN alleges rapes in DR Congo unrest||
The UN has accused government troops and M23 rebels of raping and killing civilians and looting towns during battles in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last month.
The United Nations said on Friday that UN investigators had confirmed that M23 rebels and government troops had committed serious abuses in their battle for control of mineral-rich North Kivu province and its capital Goma.
The investigations indicate that Congolese army soldiers committed rapes, looting and other human rights violations after they retreated from Goma following its capture by M23 rebels.
The UN mission could not confirm reports that 72 rapes were committed in the Minova area, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) south of Goma, but its initial investigation found that several violations, including rape and looting, were committed by Congolese army elements, UN deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey said.
“Preliminary investigations by MONUSCO indicate that several human rights violations, including rape and looting, were committed by FARDC (Congolese army) elements (in Minova),” del Buey told reporters in New York.
“MONUSCO cannot confirm the reported figure of 72 rapes but is on the ground conducting further investigations,” he said.
The UN also accused M23 rebels of killing civilians and looting when they took Goma last month.
“MONUSCO is also able to confirm several serious human rights violations, including the killing and wounding of civilians as well as looting, committed by the M23 in Goma.” The UN spokesman said.
However, criticism over the conflict has also been levied on the UN.
Yoweri Museveni, Ugandan president and key broker in the crisis, said at a summit on Saturday that the inability of UN peacekeeping forces to prevent the conflict was shameful.
“It is a very big shame,” Museveni said of MONUSCO, during a summit of the southern African bloc SADC in the Tanzanian economic capital Dar es Salaam. “It is some sort of military tourism.”
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader