UN rights chief urges international probe of Congo killings

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The U.N. human rights chief is calling for an independent, international probe into hundreds of recent killings in central Congo, pointing to accounts of pregnant women and toddlers hacked to death and faulting the government for failing to protect its citizens.

In his appeal to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein cited "harrowing" reports from U.N. rights experts he deployed this month to interview refugees from the central Kasai regions.

Accounts indicated some members of the Bana Mura militia "have in the past two months shot dead, hacked or burned to death, and mutilated, hundreds of villagers."

At times, Zeid said, victims recounted that Congolese troops and police "have accompanied some Bana Mura attacks" and some "state agents" were involved in directing and arming the militia.