News / Africa

DRC Rights Groups Urge that Abusive Army Colonel Be Ousted

Refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) gather in 2009, to escape inter-ethnic violence
Refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) gather in 2009, to escape inter-ethnic violence

Multimedia

Audio
  • Interview with Human Rights Watch Congo Researcher Anneke Van Woudenberg

A coalition of 50 human rights NGO’s and civil society groups has launched a formal complaint against a Congolese army colonel for brutally treating women, children, and refugee victims of war in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.  Human Rights Watch spearheaded Monday’s appeal to urge senior DRC officers to investigate and relieve Lieutenant Colonel Innocent Zimurinda of his command.  The petitioners claim that since 2007, Zimurinda has massacred civilians, ordered rapes, and the recruitment of child soldiers, and directed the slaughter of more than 100 Rwandan Hutu refugees during an offensive in North Kivu province last April. 

Human Rights Watch senior Congo researcher Anneke Van Woudenberg says that unless senior commander, General Amuli Bahigwa, replaces Colonel Zimurinda, the abuse will continue during a U.N.– DRC offensive planned to start early this year.

Recruited child soldier in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Recruited child soldier in the Democratic Republic of Congo

“He’s been involved in multiple massacres in eastern Congo, specifically in the province of North Kivu – three big massacres, the most recent of which occurred in April of last year, when the colonel himself organized an operation against refugees, killing at least 129 of them in a really brutal and vicious operation, where many women were raped and also numerous people were killed, often at point-blank range.  But he also has a track record of forced labor, of illegally taxing people, and also, of course, of widespread rape.  And we’re saying that it’s time that proper judicial investigation start,” she said.

Rape victims in a Congolese hospital. 11 Aug 2009
Rape victims in a Congolese hospital. 11 Aug 2009

After the refugee massacre, according to a U.N. report last October, survivors scattered in several directions, making it difficult for humanitarian groups to safeguard them from further violence. 

“What we’ve been able to piece together, as well as the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions, is that the individual responsible for those killings was this Lieutenant Colonel Innocent Zingurinda.  And it’s extraordinary that that individual remains in a position of command.  And basically what we and 50 Congolese NGO’s are saying is that it’s time he’s removed,” she said.

Zimurinda has reportedly taken part in U.N-backed Congolese military operations in eastern Congo during the past year and is expected to have a role in a new U.N.-supported offensive known as Amani Leo that is due to start within the next few weeks unless, Van Woudenberg says, the DRC command takes action to relieve him.

“Until we start someplace, we’re never going to see any progress.  And it starts one step at a time.  And this is an important step for the Congolese army to take.  Hold this man to account.  Arrest him.  Suspend him from the area of operations, and ensure that he’s held to account,” she said.

DRC Rights Groups Urge that Abusive Army Colonel Be Ousted
DRC Rights Groups Urge that Abusive Army Colonel Be Ousted

The Human Rights Watch researcher Van Woudenberg says that senior Congolese commander, General Bahigwa, is generally well-respected as a  leader by his troops and has abided by a policy of zero-tolerance for war crimes and brutality committed against Congolese civilians.  She says the petitioners are hopeful that the Goma command will draw the line and eliminate the torturous collateral treatment of war victims.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid