UN expresses concern over Congo military operations

WEB_PHOTO_Ban_Ki-moon_070814

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged for an end to hostilities in Gaza.

KAMPALA – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, spoke by phone on Wednesday with the President of the Republic of the Congo, Denis Sassou N’Guesso, expressing concern about that country’s security operation in the south-eastern Pool region and its impact on the civilians.

“Ban (Ki-Moon) urged President Sassou N’Guesso to ensure that humanitarian and other relevant actors are granted access to the affected areas,” said a statement issued by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson

The statement also called on the N’Guesso to ensure that the security forces showed restraint in the use of force and complied with Congo’s obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

Underscoring the need for political dialogue to foster national unity following the recent elections, Ban emphasised the importance of N’Guesso’s personal engagement and reaffirmed the United Nations’ readiness to support the country in this regard.

The Secretary-General thanked N’Guesso for his engagement with the Central African Republic and looked forward to his continued support in the post-transition period.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently reported that the Congolese authorities had arrested at least 27 associates of Moise Katumbi, a presidential aspirant, and other opposition party members since late April 2016.

Congo’s justice minister announced an investigation into Katumbi on May 4, the day he announced his candidacy.

The arrests occurred between April 22 and May 7 in and around the southern city of Lubumbashi, where Katumbi is based.

The investigation into Katumbi for his alleged “recruitment of mercenaries, including several retired American soldiers,” appears politically motivated, HRW said.

On May 7 the prosecutor’s office in Lubumbashi summoned Katumbi to appear on May 9.

“The arrests and attacks in Lubumbashi appear to be more than just the usual police harassment, but targeted actions against a presidential aspirant and close supporters,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at HRW.

“The government should urgently reverse course and ensure that opposition parties and all Congolese are freely able to express their views and peacefully assemble.”