Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have killed at least 101 people during clashes with members of a local militia- Kamuina Nsapu- between 9th and 13th February according to a UN Press briefing.
The armed forces – the FARDC – and members of the Kamuina Nsapu militia are reported to have clashed at the in the territory of Dibaya in Kasai Central.
The Kamuina Nsapu militia is loyal to a local chief killed by the army on 12 August last year.
FARDC soldiers are said to have opened fire indiscriminately with machine guns when they saw the militia fighters, who were armed mainly with machetes and spears. Some 39 women are reported to have been caught in the fire and are among the dead. The United Nations is conducting research into the exact numbers of fatalities.
“We condemn any excessive use of force and call on the FARDC soldiers to abide by acceptable standards of national law and international human rights law in their responses, in particular to exercise restraint and to use force only when necessary and proportionate to the threat, to minimize damage and injury and to respect and preserve human lives. We urge the military commanders to reinforce this message with their troops.” Says the UN statement
The UN also condemned the militia’s practice of recruiting children into its ranks and targeting the state in its attacks.