No genocide took place in eastern DR of Congo, UN mission says

16 June 2004

A human rights team from the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sent to investigate allegations of rights violations in the eastern part of the country said today, contrary to claims by a dissident general from the national army, that no genocide took place there.

Preliminary results indicate that every community in Bukavu, especially civilians, suffered in the insurgency that started on 26 May and climaxed with the brief seizure of the town in the beginning of June, said Roberto Ricci, chief of the humanitarian section of the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC).

In the extortion and the fighting 66 people died, 77 were injured and 31 raped, while 147 houses were plundered, he said, adding “Anyone who opposed the pillaging was killed.”

Certain members of the DRC’s Armed Forces (FARDC) attacked civilians, killing 4 and injuring 12, but there was no evidence that the military command ordered these attacks. On the contrary, Gen. Mbuza Mabe turned over 51 Banyamulenge – or Congolese Tutsi – families to MONUC for their protection.

The inquiry would continue with interviews of Congolese refugees in Cyangungu, in neighbouring Rwanda, MONUC said.

The recent crises had only one clear objective, which was to destabilize the transition, put it in danger and make it end in failure, said the Mission’s Director of the Department of Public Information, Patricia Tome.

The opponents of the transition, which is designed to lead to elections, have been using every means at their disposal – ethnicity, force, lying and rumour-mongering, welcoming fear and hate – because any method would seem good to them, she said.