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Congo Seeks International Probe into Kisangani Killings - 2002-05-27

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is calling for an international investigation into recent slayings in Kisangani. The DRC also says it will seek legal action because of what it calls Rwanda's role in the killing of more than 150 civilians.

Congo Human Rights Minister Ntumba Luaba Luma told reporters in Geneva that he has asked U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Mary Robinson to start an inquiry into the deaths. He said the DRC also will file a complaint against Rwanda at the World Court at the Hague.

The DRC says Rwanda and the rebel group it supports killed civilians in the eastern Congolese city of Kisangani. The area has been controlled by the Rwandan-backed rebel group, the Congolese Rally for Democracy, for the past four years.

Minister Luma said Rwandan troops and Congolese rebels carried out what he called an organized and disproportionate reprisal against civilians after a May 14 rebellion was put down.

Red Cross and other aid workers say they have recovered at least 150 mutilated bodies from rivers in Kisangani. Other reports tell of people - mostly soldiers and policemen - executed at an airport and burned in a mass grave near the runway.

The rebels say 39 people died in the uprising. And they accuse local leaders in Kisangani of starting the uprising with Congolese government support. And they says they did not carry out any executions.