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DRC

Top UN rights official expelled from DR Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo has ordered the expulsion of a top UN human rights official in the country. It follows the release of a UN report on police atrocities in the central African state.

The Interior Ministry in the Democratic Republic of Congo had released a statement on Thursday confirming the order to expel Scott Campbell, director of the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in Congo.

"The present report, under examination, was led in a partial and partisan manner, with the manifest intention of discrediting the PNC (Congolese National Police), of demoralising its agents and destabilising the institutions of the Republic," said Interior Minister Richard Muyej, calling Campbell a "persona non grata".

The move came a day after the UNJHRO released a report accusing Congolese national police of executions during a crackdown on gangs.

The report said the police summarily executed at least nine men in the capital Kinshasa between November 2013 and February 2014.

It also said sources told investigators that the victims, men aged between 16 and 44, were usually shot, strangled or hanged at a police station in the city's Limete neighborhood.

However, Muyej dismissed the findings and said he had already addressed concerns about the operation several times.

Muyej also said the list of cases published in the UN report was "only a litany of presumptions presented in the conditional and resting on manifestly discredited claims."

Campbell was responsible for monitoring human rights in the country, however, he declined to comment on his expulsion.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, described the decision as "very disappointing."

"We think this is a very important report, and we believe the government should take it seriously," he said.

Massacre in east of Congo

Kongo - Operation gegen die ugandischen Rebellen der ADF-Nalu

DR Congo military personnel (FARDC) patrol near Beni, North-Kivu province, December 2013.

Rebels killed more than 20 people with machetes in an attack in the east of Congo on the same day Kinshasa demanded the recall of Campbell.

The assault took place in the Ngadai area on the northern edge of Beni, which has a population of around half a million people mostly from the Nande ethnic group.

The massacre in the town of Beni raised questions over claims by the authorities that Ugandan rebels, who had terrorised the region for the last two decades, were all but defeated.

The Allied Democratic Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) had committed numerous atrocities since they were chased into neighboring Congo by the Ugandan army in the 1990s.

The UN played a key role in maintaining Congolese security and had a 21,000-strong peacekeeping mission, known as MONUSCO, in the central African country.

lw/av (AFP, Reuters)

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