Electoral posters of incumbent Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso are seen at a busy intersection in Brazzaville on March 16, 2016 ahead of March 20 polls. Picture: Marco Longari/ AFP
Electoral posters of incumbent Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso are seen at a busy intersection in Brazzaville on March 16, 2016 ahead of March 20 polls. Picture: Marco Longari/ AFP

Congo’s govt accused of bombing residential areas

By Reuters Time of article published Apr 18, 2016

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Kinshasa - Congo Republic's government has intentionally bombed residential areas in the country's south, reportedly killing at least 30 people, Amnesty International said on Monday.

No one was immediately available for comment from the government, which has denied targeting civilians in the past.

The central African country has been gripped by political violence since a contested presidential election last month in which President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has ruled for 32 of the last 37 years, was declared the victor.

The government has blamed Frederic Bintsamou, who led a militia that fought President Denis Sassou Nguesso during and after a 1997 civil war, for deadly raids on police, military and local government bases in the capital on April 4.

Witnesses told Amnesty that helicopters dropped at least 30 bombs on April 5 on residential areas in operations targeting sites linked to Bintsamou, the organisation said in a statement.

One witness told Amnesty that she saw at least 30 dead bodies after bombings near the village of Soumouna in the Pool region, about 70km south-west of Brazzaville.

“Government forces have deliberately and unlawfully attacked people,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty's Central Africa researcher. “It is shocking that they bombed residential areas in response to the violence that occurred in Brazzaville.”

Death tolls from independent sources have yet to emerge from the Pool, due to restrictions on access to the area.

In a statement last week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he had received reports of mass arrests, torture and killings of opposition leaders and supporters since the election.

Reuters

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