HRW: DRC police killed, ‘forcibly disappeared’ 34 youths

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) says security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) killed at least 27 young men and “forcibly disappeared” seven others during an anti-crime campaign between May and September 2018.

According to HRW, the campaign known among the police as “Operation Likofi IV” targeted people believed to be members of gangs in the capital, Kinshasa. The rights group says police officers often wore civilian clothing during operations and apprehended suspects during the night at their homes without warrants.

“In many cases, the police blindfolded and bound the victims, took them to unidentified locations, and killed them,” HRW said in its report. “Often the police dumped the victims’ bodies near their homes early the next morning. Most victims were strangled in an apparent strategy by the authorities to direct attention away from the police.”

Deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch Ida Sawyer acknowledged the fact security forces are trying to deal with serious crime issues in the DRC’s capital but called upon the country’s new government to ensure police conduct lawful exercises.

“Strangling, shooting, and disappearing suspects in custody is never a lawful way to fight urban crime,” Sawyer said. “Congo’s new administration should put an end to abusive police campaigns and work to ensure that those responsible for these horrific crimes are investigated and prosecuted.”

Featured image: HRW

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.