Britain continued to fund the police force of the Democratic Republic of Congo for almost 12 months after officers “summarily executed” at least nine people, including a child.
Another 32 men and boys disappeared during a police offensive in the capital, Kinshasa, codenamed “Operation Punch”. Of these, 29 are still missing including two 16-year-olds.
The first public reports of police brutality emerged within two weeks of the launch of Operation Likofi – meaning “Punch” - on Nov 15 last year.
On Nov 27, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo issued a joint press release voicing alarm over “reports of disappearance and assassination of young men and
children in some communes of Kinshasa”.
At the time, the UN agencies said that about 20 people, including 12 children, had been killed. They urged “immediate steps” to “put an end to such acts”.
Despite this public statement, however, the Department for International Development (Dfid) continued to fund Congo’s police for almost another year.
Dfid suspended its “Security Sector Accountability and Police Reform Programme” this month, following a UN report in October which confirmed nine deaths and numerous other violations during Operation Punch.
Our IP Address: