MOSCOW, November 18 (Sputnik) — The police in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is accountable for killing more than 51 and in the forcibly disappearance of 33 youths during the so-called Operation Likofi, an anti-crime campaign initiated last year, Human Rights Watch reported.
"The three-month operation, between November 2013 and February 2014, showed little regard for the rule of law. The police officers, who participated in the operation, frequently acted illegally and ruthlessly, killing at least 51 young men and teenage boys and forcibly disappearing 33 others," a report published Monday on the watchdog's website stated.
"Operation Likofi was a brutal police campaign that left a trail of cold-blooded murders in the Congolese capital," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Fighting crime by committing crime does not build the rule of law but only reinforces a climate of fear. The Congolese authorities should investigate the killings, starting with the commander in charge of the operation, and bring to justice those responsible."
The "Operation Likofi: Police Killings and Enforced Disappearance in Kinshasa" report contains 57 pages and describes the atrocities the DRC police committed in relation to suspected gang members.
"This report documents abuses committed by police who took part in Operation Likofi, including extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances, and threats against family members and other witnesses of abuses," the report read.
The report is based on interviews conducted in Kinshasa, the DRC's capital, between November 2013 and November 2014 with 107 people who witnessed abuses, killings and abductions.
HRW has concluded that Operation Likofi was against the rule of law and was aimed at reinforcing fear among the population. The organization called on the DRC government to hold accountable those responsible for the crimes and to take concrete steps to ensure such atrocities do not repeat.
Operation Likofi was set up to combat criminal delinquency in Kinshasa and took place from November 15, 2013 to February 15, 2014.