Amnesty International said yesterday that government forces and militia fighters in and around Brazzaville were committing atrocities, including rape and arbitrary killing, against unarmed civilian populations. In a statement received today (Thursday) by IRIN, Amnesty also condemned the “indiscriminate shelling of civilian targets” perpetrated by government forces and armed opposition groups. It said Cobra militia supporting President Denis Sassou Nguesso and the Ninja allied to former prime minister Bernard Kolelas were deliberately killing civilians suspected of supporting the opposing side. The displaced, who had no protection from further attacks by combatants, were also at risk of starvation and disease, it said. The abuses are reminiscent of those carried out by combatants during the 1997 civil war that brought Sassou back to power, the statement added.
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