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Rights groups decry 'human rights violations' in Congo's Pool region

Republic of the Congo

Rights activists have voiced their concern on the military and police operations currently ongoing in the Pool region and said “serious human rights violations were taking place behind closed doors” in the region.

In a report released on Friday, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) said the violence has already led to dozens of people killed and injured.

Numerous arrests have also been made while many buildings including schools, medical centers and churches have also been destroyed during the operation, the rights organisation said.

FIDH said that for over two weeks, the Congolese army and police have been conducting major operations against former members of the Ninja militia and its former leader, Frédéric Bintsmou.

The rights group called for the authorities to stop all operations by the security forces, to allow access to populations and to conduct independent investigations into the violence.

Congolese authorities have however disputed the reports and said there have not been any no civilian casualties.

The pool region has witnessed numerous clashes between rebels and government forces that escalated following the 2015 referendum and last year’s election.

The Ninjas fought two civil wars against the government in the 1990s and were seen as having disbanded after agreeing to a peace deal in 2003. But clashes resumed after President Dennis Sassou Nguesso won the March 2016 elections.

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