At least 535 killed during inter-communal attacks in DRC

Last Modified Thursday, 31 January 2019 (11:10 IST)
United Nations: A preliminary UN investigation into a massacre reportedly carried out in western (DRC) last month, reveals that ?at least 535 civilians were killed and 111 sustained injuries in four attacks?, the UN Mission in the country, MONUSCO said.
In mid-January, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, said that according to ?credible reports?, hundreds of villagers from the four communities in town and territory in Plateaux District of Bandundu Province, Yumbi had been killed during inter-ethnic clashes between the Banunu and Batende communities, during several days, beginning on December 16. 
 
She deplored the ?shocking violence? and highlighted the importance of ?investigating and bringing the perpetrators to justice.?
 
The initial investigation conducted by the Joint UN Human Rights Office (UNJHRO), attached to the mission, has concluded that in addition to the dead, 111 other villagers were wounded.
There has been no confirmation of exactly who carried out the killings but the mission said that ?the attacks were conducted in an organised and planned manner, and were extremely violent and fast, leaving little time for the populations to flee?.
 
The wave of violence was allegedly triggered by a dispute over the burial of the customary chief of the Banunu community.
 
?The team identified a total of 59 burial sites in two of the attacked towns, but do not rule out more sites,? said a statement from MONUSCO on Wednesday. ?Furthermore, 967 properties, including churches, schools and health centers were looted or destroyed, and at least 363 boats were destroyed.?
 
An estimated 16,000 people reportedly fled Yumbi and the surrounding area, to different locations including ?some 7,000 persons who, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), sought refuge by crossing the river into the Republic of Congo. The Mission reports that the security situation is currently relatively calm, with national security forces having deployed to the area.?
 
The UN and its humanitarian partners have dispatched emergency help in the form of medicine, food, water tablets and malaria kits, and further assistance is on the way.(UNI)