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 commissioner, Olatunbosun urges citizens to disregard panic messages over ultimatum to herdsmen
Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun has disclosed that citizens of the State should disregard a voice note message urging people in Ibadan to stay indoors on Friday 22nd of January due to a purported ultimatum issued by some individuals to a Fulani Community in Igangan, Ibarapa area of Oyo State.
Recall that the State governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has warned individuals to respect the constitutional rights of any Nigerian to live anywhere in the country in a peaceful manner and condemned the said ultimatum in a state broadcast to the people of the state
A voice note, being circulated on Wednesday by one woman from London simply known as ‘Remi’ has urged residents of Ibadan to stay indoors on Friday so as to avoid any crisis that might arise from the outcome of the ultimatum issued to the Fulani Herdsmen Community in Igangan.
Olatubosun said the message was targeted at causing panic among the people and to tarnish the efforts of the present administration in tackling insecurity in the State.
He said Oyo State indigenes at home and in the diaspora ought to give support to the government and not to cause disaffection and unnecessary panic over an issue that has been adequately addressed by the government and concerned security agencies.
He added that the people of the State, especially in Ibadan should go about their businesses without fear of molestation or attack from any quarter.
“It is funny to hear that somebody was sending voice note from London, warning Ibadan people not to venture out on Friday because of an ultimatum issued to a Fulani Herdsmen Community in Igangan, in Ibarapa area.
“This is an issue that has been addressed by the government that nobody has the power to give such ultimatum, the constitution of Nigeria does not allow for it, especially when the said Community is not constituting security threat to lives and properties of the people.
“The government of Oyo State and security apparatus are working around the clock to give the people of the State the required peaceful atmosphere that will engender economic growth, we therefore urge our people, especially in Ibadan to ignore the voice note message and go about their normal businesses without fear of molestation or attack from any quarter.”
The commissioner called on the residents of the State to be wary of scaremongers who he said could create psychological crisis where such was not in existence.
‘Our enemies are kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers, not Hausa-Fulani’, says Makinde
Oyo state governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde has reiterated that his administration is determined to bring insecurity to its knees in the state by dealing decisively with troublemakers.
Governor Makinde, who made the declaration in a state-wide broadcast to residents of the state, aired on the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), on Wednesday urged residents to come together and put the interest of Oyo State first in the fight against insecurity.
He averred that the collective efforts of all residents of the state is the only way to continue to keep the peace and sustain the secure environment, which he said, has contributed to the growth of the state’s economy in the past.
The governor added that his administration is taking all necessary steps to protect the people from harassment, thuggery, cultism and banditry, noting that the state “has the situation under control.”
Governor Makinde promised to deal with anyone disrupting the peace of the state.
This is coming a few days after a police report indicated that the rate of armed robbery incidents in the state reduced by more than 32 per cent in 2020, compared to the previous year 2019.
The state government has also expressed its determination to stamp out brigandage, kidnapping and other violent crimes.
Makinde emphasized that the state has a common enemy in hoodlums, bandits and kidnappers, who, he said, have been fomenting troubles in the state.
He noted that the enemies of Oyo State are neither the Hausa-Fulani pastoralists, who are looking for pasture for their flock nor the farmers, who are seeking to produce food for human consumption.
He warned individuals going about issuing ultimatum to Fulani residents of the state to desist from such acts, declaring that as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, he, as governor, would protect every Nigerian’s rights to reside in any part of the country.
Governor Makinde told individuals or groups planning to take actions that would lead to the forcible removal of anyone from the state to desist from such line of action, noting that anyone who fails to abide by his directive will face the full wrath of the law.
Governor Makinde warned residents of the state against taking judgement into their hands, adding that there are bodies constitutionally empowered to arrest and prosecute criminals.
He said that the responsibility of residents is to help the security agencies identify the enemies of the people.
The governor equally acknowledged the efforts of some officers of the Nigeria Police Force who, according to him, have resumed their constitutional duties of maintaining law and order in the state, even as he encouraged the leadership of the Police to continue to collaborate with his administration to secure the state.
“The past few weeks’ events have made it imperative that I address issues that have to do with the internal security of our dear state.
“We cannot overlook the fact that there have indeed been instances that cause concern. The fragile peace between the herdsmen and farmers in Oke Ogun is being threatened. “Individuals who are not authorised are going around chasing people from their homes and causing mayhem. This assault on residents of Oyo State is not the way to further the Yoruba cause.
“Let me state that we shall not sit back and watch anyone make any law-abiding resident of Oyo State feel unsafe in their homes, farms, or business places. We are aware of some people circulating flyers and giving people ultimatums to leave their land. This is totally unacceptable and will not be condoned.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which I swore to defend and protect, guarantees freedom of movement in Section 41(1), such that citizens are free to reside in any part of the country without fear. We are determined to preserve that right in Oyo State”, he said.
The governor, who called on local government chairpersons, traditional rulers and other sectors of the state to work with the security agencies to secure the state and ensure maximum peace said: “All Local Government and Local Council Development Area Chairpersons are directed to work with the traditional rulers and the officers of the security agencies to ensure that peace is maintained in all parts of the state.
“Let me also use this medium to speak to our traditional rulers. They must not be part of any plans to disrupt the peaceful coexistence of residents of Oyo State.
“I must reiterate that we will not hesitate to take appropriate action against any individuals who try to disrupt the peace in Oyo State. Our administration is taking all necessary steps to protect the good people of Oyo State from harassment, thuggery and banditry. We believe we have the situation under control.
“It is time for us to come together and put the interests of our state first. We have a common enemy. That enemy is not the Hausa- Fulani who is looking for pasture for his flock. It is not the farmer who just wants to grow food to sell in the market or to feed his family. Our enemies are the hoodlums, cultists, armed robbers, kidnappers and bandits. These people live among us.
“With our collective efforts, we can continue to keep the peace in Oyo State. Together, we can preserve the secure environment that has contributed to the growth of our economy”, the governor concluded.
Ondo youth group backs Akeredolu, says no going back on quit notice to herders
The leadership of Ondo State Youth Network, a coordinated group of Youth and Students leaders across the state have thrown it’s full weight behind Governor Rotimi Akeredolu pronouncement ordering herdsmen to vacate Ondo state within seven days.
It will be recalled that Governor Akeredolu on Monday in a statement ordered Herdsmen to vacate all forest reserves in the state and also outlawed Under-age grazing, Night-grazing and also banned the movement of Cattle within the cities and highways of the state.
Akeredolu’s order was in response to the killings and kidnappings happening in the state, which have largely been blamed on Fulani herdsmen through reported stories of victims and survivors of their brutality.
However, the Presidency, through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu on Tuesday condemned this order, insisting that the Governor should not enforce such .
Speaking to newsmen on Tuesday, the group’s publicist, Oluwatosin Akinbulumo informed that the leadership of the network and all her members are in total support of the governor’s order as it is a sacred steps towards ensuring the safety of residents of the state and their properties.
“Our forests have become haven to evil kidnappers and one of the deadliest terrorist group in the world causing great havoc on innocent citizens of the state and commuters. The governor’s order is a welcome development which will serve as a pedestal towards the cleansing of our forest off these demonic agents.
“As a development-oriented youth group, we believe assured security is an important catalyst for growth and sustainability, and we can’t afford to fold our hands and allow some evil agents jeopardize the peace and tranquility we enjoy in Ondo State”, he said.
Speaking further, Oluwatosin stated that the youth group is ready to mobilize young men and women of the state to defend the borders of the state if the State Government is cowed by the Presidency and end up not enforcing the earlier announced order.
He added, “We will not hesitate to mobilize heavily to confront these killers masquerading as herdsmen if the Governor refuse to ‘do the talk’, and ensure they vacate our forest and highways within the seven days ultimatum announced by the Governor”.
The group’s mouthpiece also encouraged other State Governors in Southwest to follow in the path of Governor Akeredolu.
“These herdsmen are all over Southwest, from Saki in Oyo State to Shagamu in Ogun State, they are everywhere and have found refuge in our forest reserves from where they perpetrate the heinous acts causing havoc on our people. Our Governors must unite to ensure the peace we enjoy in Southwest remain nonnegotiable”, he continued.
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