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Schoolgirl (8) caught in lethal Congolese crossfire

Story from: CAJ News Africa

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo

From JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – AN eight-year-old schoolgirl is among an  unspecified number of civilians killed after the trigger-happy Congolese military opened fire on protesters.
The young student was hit by a stray bullet while on her way to school amid anti-government protests in the Panzi neighborhood of Bukavu in the South Kivu province.
According to the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), there have been additional casualties.
The UN Joint Human Rights Office was at the time of publishing still investigating.
At least 100 children have been killed in the violence characterising DRC after President Joseph Kabila stayed on despite the lapse of his term last December.
Maman Sidikou, special representative of the UN in the DRC and head of MONUSCO, expressed grave concern at the use of lethal force by Congolese defense and security personnel.
“Alleged violence perpetrated by protestors should never be an excuse for the use of lethal force,” Sidikou said.
He urged the beleaguered government of Kabila to ensure law enforcement agents were adequately equipped and trained to engage in crowd-control operations.
“Authorities must urgently carry out prompt, credible and independent investigations into this incident, as a means to prevent loss of lives during future protests.”
Last week, DRC forces opened fire on protesting Burundi refugees, killing at least 39 and injuring 100 others.
The bloodshed, also in South Kivu, sparked outrage from the UN.

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