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Rights violations alleged in DR Congo

Dec. 19, 2012 at 5:16 PM

MINOVA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The United Nations says it is investigating two killings, at least 126 rapes and other alleged human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said two U.N. Joint Human Rights Office teams interviewed more than 200 people in the town of Minova area this month who witnessed or were affected by a recent outbreak of violence and civilian displacements, the United Nations said in a release Tuesday.

"The U.N. mission is supporting the [DRC] military justice procedure in conducting thorough investigations into these allegations to ensure that the perpetrators are identified and held accountable," Nesirky said.

The DRC military is also conducting an investigation, which has resulted in the arrest of nine soldiers -- seven in connection with lootings and two regarding the rapes, Nesirky said.

The investigations center on alleged human rights violations that occurred Nov. 20-30 in and near Minova, which is near the city of Goma, the North Kivu province capital, the U.N. release said.

Militants from the 23 March Movement armed group occupied the town Nov. 19 and are suspects in the violence.

Various media reported there have been allegations DRC soldiers raped dozens of women in Minova during the army's retreat from Goma.

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