Guidon Shimiray Mwissa’s forces continue to commit crimes against civilians with the aid of the army, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch.
Forces loyal to a wanted Congolese rebel leader continue to commit murders, rape, extortion, and forced recruitment of children with the support of the country’s army, Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a new report.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) issued an arrest warrant for Guidon Shimiray Mwissa in June 2019 for participating in a riot, recruiting child soldiers and committing the crime against humanity of rape in the eastern region of the country.
The 40-year-old Guidon is an ethnic Nyanga and former government soldier from Walikalese who defected as a rebel fighter in 2007.
Shortly thereafter, he joined the Nduma Defense of Congo (NDC) under Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka. In 2014, Guidon broke up with Sheka and founded the NDC-R.
“A 2019 arrest warrant did not prevent Guidon from perpetrating horrific abuse against civilians in areas he controls,” said Thomas Fessy, senior Congo researcher at HRW.
“His supporters within the Congolese army should be investigated and prosecuted for using an abusive group as proxy.”
#DRC Wanted Warlord Guidon has continued to pursue civilians in areas under his control. He should be arrested + his supporters of the #Congo Army should be investigated and prosecuted for using his abusive militia as a proxy. Our new @hrw report + video https://t.co/9m0LbdCSqG pic.twitter.com/DuoLR3OVaa
– Thomas Fessy (@thfessy) October 20, 2020
Guidon, who remains at large, leads the NDC-R rebel group, whose fighters are notorious for torturing and executing civilians.
NDC-R controlled a larger area than any other armed group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo until the group split three months ago.
Some of the group’s fighters have surrendered to the government.
Guidon claims he does not receive any support from the army and denies having committed legal violations.
“The NDC-R has no cooperation with the Congolese army. When confronted with other armed groups, we find heavy weapons, ammunition and Congolese military uniforms. “He told a local TV station.
The HRW report added that NDC-R forces have killed dozens of men, women and children since 2014, many of whom were hacked to death with machetes or gunfire.
During the attacks, fighters ransacked and burned houses and tortured men and women with knives and machetes, according to witnesses and victims interviewed by HRW.
A 14-year-old girl from the Masisi area described how she was raped by an NDC-R fighter when she returned from the fields in early 2020.
“He took me and hit the ground. He said, “If you refuse, I’ll shoot you in the stomach.”
In January 2018, the UN Security Council added Guidon to the UN sanctions list, froze his assets and imposed a worldwide travel ban.
A Congolese army spokesman in North Kivu told HRW that government forces are “actively trying to arrest Guidon”.