Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Congo / Sexual Violence against Women

Congolese Rebel Commander Responsible for Mass Rapes Arrested
The Telegraph, October 6, 2010
Photo: "Zaina Niangoma who was raped along with her 15-year-old daughter (not pictured) by three members of the Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda." (AFP/Getty Images)
"UN and Congolese forces have arrested a rebel commander allegedly responsible for mass rapes in eastern Congo. The UN has been criticised for failing to stop the attacks after it took days for help to arrive, even though the villages are 12 miles from a camp of UN peacekeepers from India. The UN said a peacekeeping patrol drove through one of the villages while it was being held by the fighters, but said peacekeepers took no action because no one told them what was going on. Rape has been increasingly used by various groups of fighters in eastern Congo to intimidate, punish and control the population, especially in the mining areas. Dr. Chris Baguma, of the Los Angeles-based International Medical Corps, said that he had seen many, many rape victims in the area 'but I have never seen anything so planned, so systematic, so animalistic.'
According to the UN announcement, the mass rapes and human rights violations are said to have been committed by about 200 Congolese Mai-Mai rebels, rebels from the Rwanda-led Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda or FDLR, and elements loyal to former Congolese army Col. Emmanuel Nsengiyumva who was also a rebel in the former Tutsi-led People's National Congress or CNDP. The UN force said a preliminary report identified 303 civilian victims -- 235 women, 13 men, 52 girls and 3 boys. Margot Wallstrom, who is responsible for UN efforts to combat sexual violence in conflict, welcomed Lt. Col Mayele's apprehension, calling it 'a victory for justice, especially for the many women who have suffered rapes and other forms of sexual violence.' [...]"
[n.b. Please note the distortion in the account: "the Rwanda-led Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda or FDLR" is not "Rwanda-led," implying sponsorship by the current Kigali regime, but rather "led by Rwandan Hutus linked to the 1994 genocide" and self-exiled since in DR Congo, as the Guardian's report makes clear. An intriguing error. The CNDP is indeed, however, linked to Rwandan government support.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ