UN: DRC Security Forces Killed 33 During Elections

Posted March 20th, 2012 at 7:40 am (UTC-5)
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The U.N. human rights office says Democratic Republic of Congo security forces killed at least 33 people during the country's election period late last year.

A report released Tuesday accuses DRC police, Republican Guards, intelligence agents, and soldiers of committing serious human rights violations in the capital, Kinshasa.

The U.N. report says security forces wounded at least 83 people and that 16 others remain unaccounted for. It also accuses authorities of arbitrary arrests and torturing people in detention.

It says many people were targeted because of real or perceived affiliation to the party of Etiennte Tshisekedi, the main challenger to President Joseph Kabila, who was re-elected.

The report notes that Congolese authorities have opened a judicial investigation of the allegations.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, says authorities must ensure the violations are investigated and the perpetrators are brought to justice.

The U.N. says its report was based on 110 statements gathered from various sources, including victims, witnesses, Congolese authorities, and representatives of political parties.

While the U.N. report focuses on violence, election monitors have singled out disorganization as the key factor that disrupted Congo's presidential and legislative elections.

By all accounts, the vote-counting process was chaotic, with many ballots and polling station tallies being lost.

Tshisekedi and other opposition figures rejected the presidential results, and the U.S.-based Carter Center has said the true results of the legislative polls may never be known.