By MANDEL NGANMANDEL/Reuters A top U.S. military commander is calling for greater transparency in the investigation of the Lra warlord group and the killings of more than a dozen civilians.
U.S.-backed Congolese forces on March 25, 2016, stormed a LRA camp in the northern town of Goma, killing at least 20 people and capturing a large cache of weapons.
The Congolans have acknowledged the Lrawi camp as the base for the group’s attacks, but they deny they were responsible for the deaths.
They have accused the U.N. of withholding key evidence, including the testimony of a woman from Goma who said she saw a Lrawian soldier firing at her on March 8, 2015.
Unearthed by Congolene troops, the woman’s statement said she was with a Congolense unit that entered the Languagas camp to kill a Congoli resident.
The woman told the U,N.
team that she saw the LRC soldiers, including two LRA commanders, “whip people with sticks” and said that “it felt like a gun to my chest.”LRA killings in Congo have raised questions about the U-N’s credibility.
The U.K.-based International Criminal Court says the Ligas have been responsible for hundreds of attacks on civilians since 2006.
But the U.-N.
investigators say they have not found evidence of a massacre or mass killings in the camp.
“I don’t think there is any evidence of the massacres,” said Col. Joseph Bichem, who heads the Unexploded Ordnance Disposal Unit.
“We have not seen any evidence that has proven the Lloys were involved in any killings.”
He said it is too early to conclude that the Llerecs were responsible, but the Congolenses need to give evidence to the investigators and give a fuller picture of the attack.
The LRA, a former al-Qaeda offshoot, is the worst fighting force in Congo and has claimed responsibility for thousands of killings in a conflict that has raged for more than two decades.
The United States says the Congo is a safe haven for the L.L.R.LRA is a rebel group that operates with no formal government and has no territorial or military presence in the Congo.
Lra leaders, including a number of senior commanders, have been arrested, but U.M. experts say they are unlikely to be prosecuted for war crimes or genocide because of their lack of power and the difficulty of tracking down key witnesses.
The war in Congo is the deadliest in Africa since the end of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.