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UN DRC mission head condemns attacks by armed rebel group

The top official for the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) [official website], Martin Kobler, on Saturday condemned [press release] a series of attacks perpetrated by the Mayi-Mayi Cheka [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], which resulted in the deaths of 34 civilians, including 20 children, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) [UN materials; BBC backgrounder]. Kobler said of the attack, "these atrocities are unimaginable and are contradicting the values of humanity. This must have consequences. There cannot be impunity for such atrocious acts. I urge the Mayi-Mayi Cheka to immediately abandon weapons and to stop manipulating different ethnic groups for personal interest." MONUSCO has confirmed [UN News Centre ] the Mayi-Mayi Cheka's involvement in extra-judicial killings and other "gross human rights violations which may constitute crimes under international law." Kobler has urged the Mayi-Mayi Cheka to lay down its weapons and cease terrorizing villages in the eastern Congolese province of North-Kivu.

Human rights and humanitarian issues continue to be a concern surrounding the violence in the DRC. Last month UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay welcomed [JURIST report] the establishment of a national human rights commission in the DRC but said that rights abuses continue in the east. Also in September a top UN official emphasized [JURIST report] the need to address the issue of impunity for those involved in human rights violations over the past year. In August UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri said that respecting human rights [JURIST report] is essential to achieve stabilization in the DRC. In May the UN reported [JURIST report] that DRC troops committed numerous war crimes, including rape and murder, as they retreated from an advance by the 23 March Movement (M23) rebels last November.

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