UN Report: Congo Troops Blamed for Mass Rape

Posted July 22nd, 2011 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
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United Nations investigators say it appears Democratic Republic of Congo troops carried out a mass rape during a two-day rampage that terrorized villagers in North Kivu province.

A report Friday by the U.N. human rights office says at least 47 women in the villages of Bushani and Kalambahiro were sexually assaulted and raped on December 31 and January 1. The actual number of victims is believed to be much higher.

Investigators say 12 civilians also endured cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, while two others were kidnapped.

The agency cites evidence suggesting that 100 Congo troops carried out the violence on the grounds that villagers were supporting enemy forces. The soldiers were allegedly armed with whips, batons, machetes and high-powered weapons.

The U.N. agency called on Congo to reinforce its judicial system to ensure that those responsible for such attacks are held accountable.

The United Nations has described Congo as “the rape capital of the world” which operates in an atmosphere of impunity. The world body says soldiers, rebel fighters, and civilians often rape women and children without fear of arrest.