Cause of the unrest in DR Congo’s Kasai region

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Kasai

The restive Kasai region is located in south-central Democratic Republic of Congo.

It’s an opposition stronghold, and has been relatively marginalized over the years.

Unrest broke out in the region in August last year, with the emergence of the Kamwina Nsapu group which has been fighting government forces since its leader, Jean-Pierre Pandi, was killed.

Pandi wanted his chiefdom to be officially recognized by the authorities and called for a popular uprising in June 2016.

The aim was to remove all state institutions and security forces from the region. He was killed two months later in a police raid at his home.

Following Pandi’s death, his followers vowed to avenge his death.

Earlier this month, the United Nations Human Rights Council said 10 mass graves had been found in Kasai.

The UN also accused Congolese forces of killing at least 84 militia members in February, allegations the government denies.

Several videos of apparent extrajudicial killings have however emerged.

The UN has criticized Congolese soldiers for using excessive force. Reports say up to 400 people have been killed in total.

The violence has also spread to neighbouring provinces, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

The UN says security forces have prevented its teams from accessing affected sites. Congolese authorities have pledged to investigate all allegations.

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