The UN Human Rights Office in DR Congo on Tuesday revised the death toll from the Kishishe massacre to 171.
In December, a preliminary UN inquiry determined a death toll of 131, while Kinshasa police stated that 300 people were killed in this atrocity.
The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) identified incidences of summary execution of at least 171 people in the villages of Bambo and Kishishe in the province of North Kivu between November 21 and November 30, 2022, in its annual report published on Tuesday.
This massacre was "committed by the M23" as "retaliation against civilians for their alleged collaboration with the national defence and security forces and rival armed groups", he said.
In a report released on Monday, the American NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that "M23 rebels arbitrarily executed at least 22 people in Kishishe" following confrontations with local militias.
The UNJHRO states in its assessment that the emergence of the M23 organization had a significant impact on the situation in North Kivu in 2022.
The M23 (for "March 23 Force"), a largely Tutsi movement, has seized significant swaths of land north of Goma in recent months and continues to expand northwest of the provincial capital of North Kivu.
The DRC accuses Rwanda of backing the M23, which is supported by UN experts and Western countries, but Kigali denies this.
The repositioning of security troops to the M23 front in Rutshuru territory (north of Goma) has "resulted in a security vacuum in other territories," according to the UNJHRO.
Because of this condition, other local armed organizations have been able to expand their dominance in this region, which has been plagued by insecurity for nearly 30 years.
The Congolese army "collaborates with ethnic militias responsible for crimes" in response to the M23 offensive, according to the report.
The UNJHRO "recorded 5,969 human rights infractions and abuses" across the country in 2022, a "15 per cent decrease" over the previous year.
The eastern provinces accounted for approximately 85% of all documented cases of human rights violations and abuses (North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri and Tanganyika). And in 60% of documented cases, armed groups are responsible.
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