In the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last week, M23 rebels killed at least 131 civilians, including 17 women and 12 children, a UN spokesperson has said.
"An additional eight people were shot and wounded, 60 people were abducted and at least 22 women and five girls were raped," said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Our colleagues say the victims were arbitrarily executed with bullets and with knives.”
The UN mission, known as Monusco, and human rights partners confirmed the toll after a preliminary investigation into what was described as a reprisal attack on November 29 and 30 against civilians in the villages of Kishishe and Bambo in the Rutshuru territory of North Kivu province, Dujarric said.
“The UN peacekeeping mission condemns in the strongest terms this unspeakable violence against civilians and calls for unrestricted access to the scene of the events as well as to the victims to provide emergency humanitarian assistance,” he said.
“The mission welcomes the decision of the Congolese authorities to initiate legal proceedings against the perpetrators of these violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”
The spokesperson said the mission was ready to aid efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice and called for an immediate end to the violence against civilians.