AFRICA/CONGO DR - Congolese expelled from Brazzaville: the two governments form a committee to verify human rights violations

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, the capital Kinshasa) and the Republic of the Congo (capital Brazzaville) have formed a joint commission to investigate human rights violations committed in the course of deportation operations from Brazzaville of citizens from the DRC. This was decided by the authorities of the two States at the end of a meeting in Kinshasa to resolve the dispute arising from the operation "Mbata ya Bakolo" which has already led to the expulsion of more than 130,000 citizens of the DRC from Brazzaville.
According to authorities in Brazzaville the operation was necessary to deal with street crime. Kinshasa replies that the Congolese government has acted without being consulted, in turn creating a serious humanitarian problem and public order on the other side of the Congo River, which separates the two capitals. Several of those who were expelled complained of having suffered serious violations of their rights, violence, theft, and humiliation on behalf of the security forces and even by some of the inhabitants of Brazzaville.
The press in Kinshasa questions whether there are Rwandan Hutu militiamen and former soldiers of the then Zaire (the name of the DRC at the time of President Mobutu deposed in 1997 at the end of the war), who were members of the militia of Pascal Lissouba, the opponent of the President of Congo Brazzaville, Denis Sassou Nguesso. After being defeated in two civil wars at the end of the 90s, some of the militiamen of Lissouba continued to live in insecurity in Brazzaville, remaining a potentially destabilizing force at the service of the highest bidder.
According to the press in Kinshasa, by expelling them from Brazzaville the local authorities have reduced this threat, but they have worsened the situation of law and order in Kinshasa. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 04/06/2014)