United Nations peacekeepers in the Congo are contributing to the systematic destruction of civilian-occupied villages during combined operations with government forces.
Video evidence filmed by Channel 4’s Unreported World shows the total destruction of a hamlet called Kazana in Ituri, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The assault was part of Operation Explorer to dislodge recalcitrant Walendu ethnic militias from the Front de Resistance Patriotique en Ituri (FRPI) before Congo’s first democratic elections on 30 July.
South African and Pakistani units of the UN force, known as Monuc, broke UN rules by opening fire using mortars and heavy machineguns when women and children were present and by giving no warning of their attack. Monuc officers, whose mandate is to protect civilians from violence, had claimed the hamlet held only militias and perhaps a few brainwashed camp followers.
But as mortars fell, figures could be seen running in all directions. For days after Kazana’s destruction we tracked down traumatised survivors from this and more than a dozen other destroyed villages. Monuc is mandated to provide relief to the victims of conflict, but we saw many terrified women, children and elderly people without food or shelter. They told of rape, torture and other ghastly treatment at the hands of government troops.