News of Rwanda (Kigali)

31 October 2012

Senegal: Monusco Officers 'Tortured to Death' Peacekeeper Over Diamond

The family of a Senegalese peacekeeper who mysteriously died in DR Congo earlier this month is demanding an inquiry amid allegations the blue helmet may have been killed by his greedy superiors. The family wants their government to put the UN to task.

Senegalese gerndarme Sadia Faty was reported dead on October 08 from what was described at the time by MONUSCO as drowning. But detail provided by his family to Senegalese media point to a murder orchestrated from the highest levels with MONUSCO. The murder was then followed up by a cover-up, say family members, because even the actual date of death was October 06.

In the days before his death, the officer made several distress phones calls to his father Assane Faty and best friend Ousmane Massaly in which he reported that his superiors could be plotting against him. Some Senegalese troops are based in Kananga, central DRC, and that is where this officer died.

The father told media on Saturday that his son had on several occasion blocked colleagues in his unit from grabbing diamond from villagers. Senior commanders in his unit allegedly planted diamonds in his cloths to implicate him out of fear he could go public.

When he reported the matter to MONUSCO superiors, the deceased officer was instead put into custody, according to his family. He made some of the calls from the detention centre and is said to have been traumatised. In the phone calls he made to his family, Sadia Faty named three MONUSCO officers but only gave their initials as "A T, I F and B D".

The parents reported that an autopsy made in Rwanda on the corpse did not reveal any complication with the lungs to suggest he drowned. Instead, the autopsy showed he had suffered multi injuries to his body which could point to the possibility the officer was tortured to death.

The father said: "Looking at the body, one realizes that the young man was beaten on the right temple, back, shoulder and lower limbs. How can we then speak of drowning? Why was his body not found in the hours that followed, and the document also reveals that the body was thrown into water when the deceased had stopped breathing."

The family says after Sadia Faty had been murdered, the culprits may have faked his death by dumping the body in water to eventually claim he had drowned.

The family has petitioned the Senegalese President Macky Sall to intervene in the case.

Allegations of MONUSCO troops illegally taking advantage of Congo's mineral wealth are said to be common - but rarely come out into the public domain. Several MONUSCO vehicles have been impounded transporting minerals. The UN body's planes are also alleged to be a major transport mechanism for illegal minerals out of DRC.

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