UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has called on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to take immediate steps to halt widespread human rights violations, including apparent summary executions, by the country’s armed forces.
“There are multiple, credible allegations of massive human rights violations in Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental and Lomami provinces, amid a sharp deterioration in security situation there, including people being targeted by soldiers for their alleged affiliation with a local militia,” said Zeid.
“It is time to stop a blunt military response that does nothing to tackle the root causes of the conflict between the Government and local militias but instead targets civilians on the basis of their presumed links to the militias,” the High Commissioner stressed.
“In line with its international human rights obligations, the DRC Government must ensure that its security forces, including the police and the army, respect and protect life and only resort to firearms as a last resort when faced with an imminent threat to life or of serious injury,” Zeid said.
“Overall, the UNJHRO has documented the killings of more than 280 individuals since July 2016 in the context of this violence”.
A local militia linked to a customary chief, Kamuina Nsapu, who was killed by the DRC armed forces in August 2016 has been increasingly active in Kasai Central Province, mostly attacking government buildings and churches, and national security forces. The militia also reportedly recruits and uses children.
Horrific video footage emerged over the weekend apparently showing FARDC soldiers shooting repeatedly and without warning at men and women, who purportedly belonged to the Kamiuna Nsapu militia, in Muenza Nsapu village. The alleged troops fired at point blank range at unarmed victims as they lay bleeding on the ground.
The UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, is not in a position to verify the origin and authenticity of the video. However, the DRC Government spokesperson and Minister of Communication Lambert Mende has stated that FARDC officers are under judicial investigation for their behavior during recent fighting in the village.
“The DRC authorities must pursue an independent, impartial, prompt, effective and transparent investigation to shed light on what has been happening and to ensure those responsible are held fully to account for what appears to be use of excessive and disproportionate force, and, in some cases, deadly force,” the High Commissioner stressed.
The UN Joint Human Rights Office (MONUSCO/OHCHR) has been monitoring the Kamuina Nsapu situation closely over several months and has documented a recent flare-up in violence in Kasai Central Province. The Office (UNJHRO) received reports that some 50 people were killed by troops between 6 and 8 February, and a further 101 people were reported killed in confrontations with soldiers between 9 and 13 February. Overall, the UNJHRO has documented the killings of more than 280 individuals since July 2016 in the context of this violence.
The UNJHRO is liaising closely with the judicial authorities, including through sharing the findings of the different missions deployed in the area, to ensure that investigations are opened into reported violations by the FARDC and the militias.
“The DRC has long been afflicted by serious violence but amid a worrying escalation of violence in provinces considered relatively calm, I call again on the Government to redouble its efforts to tackle impunity that feeds further violence and human rights violations,” said the High Commissioner.
“I urge the authorities to put into place a comprehensive peace plan based on dialogue, including finding durable solutions to conflicts with customary chiefs,” Zeid said.
The High Commissioner called on the Human Rights Council and the international community to monitor the security situation in the DRC, including any progress made by the authorities in investigating, prosecuting and punishing these crimes.
Oyo: Makinde Mother’s Burial Holds December
Body of Chief (Mrs.) Abigail Makinde, the mother of Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde will be interred in the first week of December.
Governor Makinde disclosed this yesterday while playing host to a delegation from the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi Ogunlade Odundun II, which was in Ibadan, the state capital to commiserate with him on the death of his mother.
The governor said he was very delighted with the visit, urging Akure people, the kingdom where his mother was born, to actively participate in her funeral.
Makinde, who described them as one of the most upright, bold and honest people in Yoruba land and the nation at large, also added that his late mother was a role model whose dedication to work, uprightness, boldness and honesty were the traits of Akure people.
A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, quoted the governor as saying “when you see an average Akure man or woman, you see courage and see people who are true to their words.”
While delivering the condolence message from the Deji of Akure, the leader of the delegation, who is the Asae of Akure Kingdom, Senior High Chief Sola Adegbonmire, described the governor’s mother as a worthy daughter of Akure Kingdom.
He stressed that the Omoregie family, where Madam Abigail Omojolagbe Makinde hailed from, is a family of exceptional and wonderful people in Akureland.
Oba Aladetoyinbo further described the death of Madam Makinde as a painful loss not only to the Makinde family but also to the entire Akure Kingdom.
He then prayed that God would grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
‘My mother was an epitome of love, humility’ – Gov. Makinde mourns
The Oyo state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, has described his late mother, Chief (Mrs.) Abigail Omojolagbe Makinde, as an epitome of love and humility, despite being a disciplinarian.
The governor stated this on Friday while receiving the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Sencondus, on a condolence visit to his house at Ikolaba GRA, Ibadan.
According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the governor expressed gratitude to the PDP NWC, noting that the fact that the leadership of the party made it to Ibadan barely 24 hours after Mama’s demise showed the love they have for him.
The statement also noted that apart from the PDP NWC entourage, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Edo, and Delta States, Alhaji Daud Akinola, Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheikh AbdulGaniyy Abubakri Agbotomokekere, the Grand Mufti of Ibadanland, Sheikh Abdul Fatai Alaga, and other Muslim leaders also paid condolence visits to the governor.
Similarly, the Oyo State Judiciary led by the Chief Justice of the state, Justice Muntar Abimbola, and the General Officer Commanding, 2 Div, Nigerian Army, Ibadan, Major General Anthony Omozoje, were also at the Makinde residence to condole with the governor.
Speaking while receiving the PDP entourage, which included the National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (retd); Deputy National Secretary; National Financial Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi MaiBasira; National Woman Leader, Hajia Mariya Waziri; National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, as well a leader of the PDP from Osun State, Hon. Soji Adagunodo, Governor Makinde said the family remains grateful to God for the life Mama lived.
He said: “I want to thank you most sincerely for this condolence visit. I want to say, on behalf of myself, my wife, immediate family, and extended family, we are very grateful and appreciative of this visit. This happened yesterday morning and you are here this morning. It shows that you truly love me. So, I want to say thank you.
“Actually, we were preparing for my mummy’s 81st birthday, which would have been on the November 7, exactly three weeks from yesterday. But who are we to question God?
“We are grateful to God for the life she lived. To us, she was an epitome of love, humility. She was tough. If you see that trait in some of us, it came from her. And we also thank God that it was not like we were carrying her from one hospital to the other. She died peacefully in her sleep. So, we thank God for what He has done.”
Governor Makinde, who also took the opportunity to appreciate the PDP NWC for the confidence it had in him to lead the Ondo State governorship campaign, said what the outcome of the election meant was that the party would have to go back to the drawing board, adding that the campaign council will submit a report as soon as practicable.
“I will also like to use this opportunity to thank the National Working Committee of our great party for the opportunity you gave to us to lead the campaign in Ondo State. We can’t question God for the outcome of that election. What it means is that we have to go back to the drawing board. We will be submitting a report of those areas where we fell short, to the NWC as soon as practicable.
“I really want to use this opportunity to thank all of you who were there in Akure for the love of our party and for the support that you gave to our candidate in Ondo State.
“Once again, my Chairman, I am appreciative of this visit and I thank you and all the members of the NWC of our party.”
Earlier, the PDP national chairman said that the visit was to condole with the governor and the family for the loss of their mother.
He said: “A time like this is the time you know those who care and those who are with you. Unfortunately, we have two situations on our hands. We lost the chairman of the party in Zamfara. Obviously, we divided ourselves; the Deputy National Chairman of the party left for Zamfara yesterday morning for the burial of our late chairman of the party. And I and the rest of us in the National Working Committee leadership decided yesterday to come to Ibadan today.
“We are here by the grace of God to console you and the rest of the members of your family. We have no other way to do it than to join you in prayers.
“It is a very painful experience that you have to go through, sometimes alone. I know what it is because I have experienced it. It is only God that can fill the vacuum in your heart because the care of a mother is quite different from that of a father.
“So, on behalf of the leadership of our party, we are here to console you on this condolence visit. The Lord will strengthen you. And because you are one of our best and doing good works for the people of Oyo State and at this time that you are giving out your best, suddenly, God who gives has taken your beloved mother.
“We are here to share the pain and sorrow with you and to let you know we will continue in prayers during this period, even as we prepare for the funeral. After the funeral, we will continue to pray for you, your immediate and larger family. It is important for us to do so, having worked with you and having seen you as a man who is compassionate and cares for others.
“Today, we are here with you and we pray that God will energise you at this period and stretch His right hand of righteousness to touch every one of the members of the family to bear this great loss.
“Therefore, as members of the National Working Committee, we pray that God will keep you now and thereafter to make you continue to do the good work for the people of Oyo State
Nigeria: Group drums support for #ENDSARS
Benchmark Group of Nigeria on Friday declared its support for the ongoing peaceful #EndSARS protests, as Nigerians speak up against police brutality.
Akanbi Bukola, founder of the group in a chat with Mega Icon Magazine said it is imperative to identify with Nigerians as protests continue around the country to end police brutality and the abuse of power by the institution established to protect its citizenry.
She noted that aside corruption and oppression from the hands of some elements of the Nigeria Police Force, “this time around, Nigerians, irrespective of faith, ethnic or political biases, must come together to eradicate police brutality once and for all in the society”.
According to her, for many Nigerians, the police has failed to fulfill its mandate of providing public security as enshrined in the constitution, adding that officers are now viewed more as predators than protectors.
Akanbi lamented further that Nigerians struggling to make ends meet are accosted on a daily basis by these officers who demand bribes and commit abuses against them as a means of extorting money.
“Those who fail to pay are usually threatened with arrest and physical harm, by those expected to protect them”, she said.
Akanbi, however called for the overall reform of the country’s police force.
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