DR Congo urged to probe Pygmy massacre

Activists on Tuesday asked authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to probe the massacre of 46 Pygmies, saying they had been targeted by rival communities.

The government has blamed last Thursday’s attack in the volatile eastern Ituri province on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia, which operates in the region.

“There is nothing to prove that the ADF perpetrated these massacres,” said Patrick Saidi Hemedi, the head of an association representing minority ethnic groups.

At a press conference, his organisation also denounced the government’s “inertia”. 

Originating in the 1990s as a Ugandan Muslim rebel group, the ADF is the most notorious of more than 100 militias that plague the eastern DRC, a country the size of western continental Europe.

The ADF has been accused of slaughtering hundreds of civilians in North Kivu and southern Ituri in reprisal for an army offensive launched in late 2019.

Hemedi asserted that the Pygmies “were massacred by other communities with the complicity of the ADF”, adding that they were possibly targeted over land rights.

The central African country’s parliament is currently considering a law to guarantee the rights of Pygmies.