DR Congo: Police Killed, ‘Disappeared’ 34 Youth
End Abusive Anti-Crime Campaign; Suspend Commanders, Pending Investigation
Wednesday 20 February 2019
(Kinshasa) – Security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo summarily killed at least 27 young men and boys and forcibly disappeared 7 others during an anti-crime campaign between May and September 2018. The campaign, known among the police as “Operation Likofi IV,” targeted alleged gang members in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa.
Human Rights Watch found that police officers, often wearing civilian clothes, apprehended without warrant suspected gang members, known as kulunas, at night from their homes or other locations. In many cases, the police blindfolded and bound the victims, took them to unidentified locations, and killed them. Often the police dumped the victims’ bodies near their homes early the next morning. Most victims were strangled in an apparent strategy by the authorities to direct attention away from the police.