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A Human Rights Watch has warned that the granting of additional powers to the military in the volatile east of the Democratic Republic of Congo could lead to further abuses against the civilian population.
President Félix Tshisekedi has just appointed military governors to Ituri and North Kivu provinces to combat the rising violence.
The new governor of Ituri Lt-Gen Johnny Luboya N’Kashama is a former rebel chief of military intelligence with the Rwanda-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD-Goma), “who may bear command responsibility for killings, rapes, and other abuses by his forces”, HRW says, citing an internal UN memo.
Lt-Gen Constant Ndima Kongba, the newly appointed North Kivu governor, is better known as ‘Effacer le Tableau’ (Erase the Board), HRWbelieves.
He earned ‘his nickname from an abusive operation he allegedly led as a rebel commander with the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) in Ituri province in 2002‘, the rights group says.
Neither has commented or denied the allegations.
President Tshisekedi has launched two military operations against rebels in the two provinces since taking office in 2019.
But these have only stoked the violence and forced more people from their homes, HRW says.
The rampant impunity for abuses by both rebel groups and national forces continues to drive conflict, the group says.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK