Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Peacekeepers regret failing to stop massacre

04 July 2014, 17:17

Kinshasa - The head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has said he is sorry his forces reacted too slowly to prevent a massacre in the east of the country in June.

Armed men killed at least 30 civilians overnight between 6 and 7 June 6 in the village of Mutarule in South Kivu province, in an ethnic dispute. A Reuters witness the next day saw dozens of burned bodies in the streets and in a church.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Thursday villagers had begged peacekeepers to intervene as the attack unfolded.

"It is a very difficult situation and I express my regrets for the inactivity of Monusco. It really is regrettable," Martin Kobler, the head of the UN mission to Congo (Monusco), told a news conference in the capital Kinshasa. He spoke on Wednesday and UN officials disseminated his comments on Thursday.


"We have taken measure with our forces and our mobile operational base to have night patrols, to respond quickly to the needs of the population ... to be able to save the lives of citizens in similar incidents," he added.

Monusco has launched an investigation into its response to the incident, Monusco military spokesperson Colonel Felix Basse told Reuters.

"We have deployed a human rights investigation team in the area and established an operational base at Mutarule to prevent further attacks," said Basse.

The Congolese army and Monusco need to determine what went wrong and make sure such atrocities do not happen again on their watch, said Anneke Van Woudenberg, Africa advocacy director at HRW.

Ethnic tensions

Congo's lawless eastern provinces are racked by several armed rebellions and attacks on civilians are common. Ethnic tensions and competition over access to land and Congo's vast mineral wealth fuel the violence.

Monusco is the largest peacekeeping mission in the world, with some 22 000 uniformed personnel at a cost of $1.5bn a year. It won praise in 2013 for supporting the Congolese army in defeating the M23 rebel group, the most serious rebellion in Congo in a decade.

Congolese authorities have also launched an investigation into the massacre in South Kivu and have arrested two army officers for reacting too slowly. Government spokesperson Lambert Mende rejected HRW's criticism of the army.

"Why are [HRW] talking about the entire Congolese army? There were officers at fault and we have made the necessary arrests. They will be judged," Mende told Reuters by telephone.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
George Vodongo
China to help Kenya fight high le...

China observed that if left unchecked, corruption could see the country degenerate into lawlessness. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Signs that he is seeing someone e...

When a man wants to be with you, he will always create time to be with you. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Spat between DP Ruto and Boniface...

A close associate of the DP, Hon Njogu Barua made an alarming comment on live TV Tuesday morning. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Matatu driver who drugged, robbed...

The driver of a Nissan matatu who over the weekend drugged and robbed a female passenger in Nairobi has been charged. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Heavy police contingent deployed ...

More police officers were on Monday deployed at Likoni in Mombasa County in a security operation to nab members of the ‘Wakali Kwanza’ and ‘Mtalia’ criminal gangs who have been terrorizing locals in the area. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Man released on Presidential amne...

He was caught taking money from a church offering bag at Ol Jabet Independent Pentecostal Church in Laikipia West on October 23. Read more...