Mar. 13, 2019 -- As many as 890 people were killed and thousands displaced due to December clashes between the Banunu and Batende communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), said the UN Human Rights Office Tuesday in a report.
At a briefing here UN Human Right Office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said that a special investigative mission to Yumbi territory in Mai-Ndombe province, in the west of the DRC reported "horrific intercommunal attacks" carried out between Dec. 16 and 18.
She said, "They occurred at four locations, were planned and executed with the support of customary chiefs and may amount to crimes against humanity."
Shamdasani also noted that the report, initiated by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC, warns of the risk of renewed violence.
The report stressed that the violence was facilitated by the absence of State action to prevent it, noting that "provincial authorities appear to have failed in their responsibility to protect the population."
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said, "It is crucial to ensure that the perpetrators of these terrible crimes are punished and that the many women, children, and men who were victims of this terrifying violence receive justice and support."
The investigation team was able to verify that at least 535 men, women, and children were killed, and 111 others injured in Yumbi town, Bongende village and Nkolo II village.
"Also, almost 1,000 buildings, mostly houses, as well as some churches, schools and health centers, were destroyed or looted," said Shamdasani.
She said the number of casualties is likely to be higher, as the bodies of some who died are believed to have been thrown into the Congo River.