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Congo grants media access to 'Pool region' after strikes


Security agencies in Congo have allowed journalists to view the Pool region since a security operation in the area to flush out “ninjas” a few weeks ago.

Police maintain they bombed what they call ‘‘terrorist command centers’‘ led by former rebel leader, Pastor Frederic Ntumi.

An aerial view of the town of Soumouna in southern Congo, near Brazzaville, shows this region was almost reduced to ashes as a result of the bombing.

Many residents are still hiding in the forest.

“Helicopters bombed the Vindza primary school for at least 30 minutes. There were two helicopters taking part in the bombing raid. There were no students on Monday which was 4 April. On Tuesday, there were students present. On Wednesday the students also reported but the warden asked not to return the next day owing to the absence of teachers (…). Fortunately there were no students, otherwise many could have died, “ says Sebard Ndebeka, a resident of Vindza who lived through the bombings.

Already the French government has said it is concerned with the reports and called for investigations.

In a statement published on its website on 19 April, the French Ministry of Foreign affairs said it is “following with concern the situation in Congo, particularly in the Pool region, where there are reports of military activities that could have affected civilian populations.”

La France suit avec préoccupation la situation au #Congo, notamment dans la région du Pool : https://t.co/i5bnUa1Hij

— France Diplomatie (@francediplo) April 19, 2016

“France would like full light to be shed on these developments – in full transparency – notably through the appropriate organizations (UN, ICRC) and for humanitarian access to be guaranteed. In any event, human rights, notably the rights of civilian populations, must be respected,” the statement added.

The pool region was shaken by sporadic civil war between 1998 and 2003.

Vast numbers of civilians fled the region during the conflict but most have now returned, according to the government.

Africanews Correspondent