DRC: MONUSCO 'gravely concerned' by use of lethal weapons in Bukavu crowd control

Kinshasa, DRC (PANA) - UN peacekeepers in DRC (MONUSCO) say they are "gravely concerned" by the use of lethal force by DRC defence and security forces in response to public protests in Bukavu, South Kivu province, leading to civilian casualties including children.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC and Head MONUSCO, Maman Sidikou, said on Monday morning, in the Panzi neighborhood of Bukavu, Congolese defence and security forces reportedly fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators protesting against rampant insecurity and repeated cases of armed robbery in the locality.

"An 8-year girl, on her way to school, was reportedly hit by a stray bullet and subsequently died," MONUSCO said in a statement.

The statement said according to credible reports received by MONUSCO, there were additional casualties and the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office was investigating to collect more detailed information.

“Defence and security forces have an obligation to use force only as the last resort, in compliance with the principles of necessity, proportionality and legality, pursuant to the international standards. Alleged violence perpetrated by protesters should never be an excuse for the use of lethal force,” said Sidikou.

“Furthermore, I urge Congolese authorities to ensure that law enforcement personnel are adequately equipped and trained to engage in crowd-control operations, and call on the authorities to urgently carry out prompt, credible and independent investigations into this incident, as a mean to prevent loss of civilian lives during future protests,” Sidikou concluded.
-0- PANA MA 26Sept2017

26 september 2017 12:43:01

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