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Alleged DRC Troop Abuse of Rebels Draws UN Concern

Congolese army troops at Munigi, north of Goma in eastern DRC. (Nicholas Long/VOA)
Congolese army troops at Munigi, north of Goma in eastern DRC. (Nicholas Long/VOA)
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expressing concern about alleged abuses by armed forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who are accused of mistreating rebel detainees and desecrating corpses.

Ban's spokesman said Wednesday the U.N. chief is calling on the Congolese government to hold accountable those responsible for any abuses against the M23 rebels.

The U.N. mission in the DRC is reviewing its support for the country's military, and says it welcomes steps by the army to investigate the allegations.

Troops in the DRC have faced other charges of misconduct during their fight against M23 rebels in the eastern part of the country.

U.N. human rights investigators issued a report in May saying Congolese soldiers raped at least 130 women and girls after fleeing a rebel advance last November. Eleven soldiers were arrested and 12 senior officers were suspended in connection to those offenses.

The same report documented abuses by the rebels, including rape, arbitrary executions and the recruitment of child soldiers.

Congolese troops have been battling M23 rebels this week near the city of Goma, which the rebels briefly occupied in November. The government said Monday its forces had killed 120 rebels in North Kivu province.

The U.N. is deploying a 3,000-strong "intervention brigade" authorized to take action against the many armed groups in North Kivu.

The groups have been active in the province for more than a decade, fighting over control of the region's rich mines.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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