UN Discovers 17 Mass Graves in Central Congo

A child soldier in DR Congo

A child soldier in DR Congo

Raising alarm over increasing reports of serious human rights violations in the Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental provinces of Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations human rights chief underscored that the scale and nature of the allegations could warrant an investigation by an global mechanism, such as the worldwide Criminal Court (ICC).

Staff from the UN Joint Human Rights Office and UN Police have confirmed the presence of the additional graves.

At least 2,000 children have been press-ganged into fighting by militias and more than 600,000 people have been displaced in rising violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai region, UNICEF said on Friday.

Tajudeen Oyewale, a UNICEF representative for Congo, who recently visited the area said children are enduring "horrific ordeals" in the Kasai region.

Most civilians were reportedly killed in their homes as soldiers went door to door hunting militia members.

The U.N. says the Congolese military dug the mass grave after killing more than 100 people last month, a sign that the DRC's violence and political turmoil will nearly certainly get worse before it gets better.

"Should there be no effective national investigation, I will not hesitate to urge.an investigation by an worldwide mechanism, including the global Criminal Court".

Iran foreign minister says US must meet own obligations for nuclear deal
But the USA must decide next month whether to renew a waiver so that Iran can continue receiving sanctions relief. Instead, Iliichev said, "we're invited to consider as terrorists those who are fighting these groups", he said.

The findings mean that the United Nations has now documented 40 mass grave sites and killings of more than 400 people in Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental provinces since last August.

The government of the DRC said it would investigate the reports once it saw the evidence.

The fighting erupted after government forces last August killed tribal chief Jean Pierre Mpandi, also known as Kamwina Nsapu, who had launched an uprising against President Joseph Kabila's government.

Today's statement also blames militia members for some of the recent violence, including attacks on churches and government buildings, and it said the militia has been accused of recruiting hundreds of children as fighters.

The government said last week that it had returned the body of the armed group's leader to his village, which had been one of the militia's key demands. However, it was unclear whether this gesture would sooth tensions after such extensive killings.

Militia in Kasai are opposed to his stay in power. More than 400 people have been killed since then.

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