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MONUSCO is gravely concerned by the use of lethal weapons by Congolese defense and security forces in a crowd control operation in Bukavu (26.09.2017)

Congolese defense and security forces reportedly fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators protesting against rampant insecurity and repeated cases of armed robbery in the locality.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, September 26, 2017 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of MONUSCO, Maman Sidikou, is gravely concerned by the use of lethal force by Congolese defense and security forces in response to public protests in Bukavu, South Kivu province, leading to civilian casualties including children.

This morning, in the Panzi neighborhood of Bukavu, Congolese defense and security forces reportedly fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators protesting against rampant insecurity and repeated cases of armed robbery in the locality. An 8-year girl, on her way to school, was reportedly hit by a stray bullet and subsequently died. According to credible reports received by MONUSCO, there are additional casualties and the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office is investigating to collect more detailed information.

“Defense and security forces have an obligation to use force only as the last resort, in compliance with the principles of necessity, proportionality and legality, pursuant to the international standards. Alleged violence perpetrated by protestors should never be an excuse for the use of lethal force”, said Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of MONUSCO.

“Furthermore, I urge Congolese authorities to ensure that law enforcement personnel is adequately equipped and trained to engage in crowd-control operations, and call on the authorities to urgently carry out prompt, credible and independent investigations into this incident, as a mean to prevent loss of civilian lives during future protests”, Sidikou concluded.

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