Congo: Amnesty report uncovers government-backed agents of torture

Security forces ‘guilty’ of detention, torture and murder of political opponents

The government of President Joseph Kabila must launch an urgent and independent investigation into the systematic detention, torture and murder of alleged political opponents committed by security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Amnesty International said in a report released today.

The report DRC: Torture and killings by state security agents still endemic, documents the leading role taken by the Special Services police (Direction des Renseignements Généraux et Services Spéciaux de la police) in the arrest and torture of scores of supposed political opponents of President Kabila’s ruling party. The crackdown took place in the capital Kinshasa during and after the 2006-2007 elections.

“People have been targeted by the security forces simply because they share the same ethnicity as Jean-Pierre Bemba, Kabila’s main political rival, during the elections,” said Erwin van der Borght, Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme.

“Many of these individuals are still in prison without charge or trial. All those interviewed by Amnesty International reported torture and ill-treatment in detention and yet no member of the security forces has been brought to justice. The climate of intimidation and fear in Kinshasa has intensified as a result,” he added.

The report also highlights grave human rights violations by President Kabila’s Republican Guard (Garde Républicaine) in the wake of fighting in Kinshasa in March 2007 between government forces and fighters loyal to Jean-Pierre Bemba. These include the alleged murder of at least 27 detainees in late March 2007, whose bodies were then dumped in the River Congo.

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