Citing a statement from an aid worker in the Congo, an August 23 MSNBC report revealed that rebels in eastern Congo gang-raped nearly 200 women and some young boys during a four-day period between July 30 and August 3. The rapes took place only a few miles from a UN peacekeepers’ base.
The aid worker was identified as Will F. Cragin of the International Medical Corps, who told the Associated Press by telephone that rebels had occupied Luvungi town the day after an attack that began on July 30.
Cragin said that his organization was only able to go into the town that is 10 miles from a UN military camp after rebels withdrew voluntarily on August 4. He said there was no fighting and no deaths, but “lots of pillaging and the systematic raping of women” by between 200 and 400 rebels. “Many women said they were raped in their homes in front of their children and husbands,” Cragin said, adding that others were dragged into the nearby forest to be assaulted.
He said international and local health workers have treated 179 women, but that the number of rape victims could be much higher. Cragin said his aid group has been going back to the town and identifying more cases.
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More than three weeks after the spree, the UN mission has issued no statement about the atrocities and said it is still investigating.
An August 23 report from Reuters News service identified the attackers as Rwandan Hutu FDLR insurgents and Mai Mai militia. The report quoted Stefania Trassari, spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who said: “During the attack [the rebels] looted [the] population’s houses and raped several women in Luvungi and surrounding areas. International Medical Corps (IMC) reported that FDLR systematically raped the population during its four-day stay in Luvungi and surrounding areas. A total of 179 cases of sexual violence were reported.”
Reuters also quoted a statement from the IMC, which said it was treating the victims, noting: “Nearly all reported rapes were described as having been perpetrated by two-to-six armed men, often taking place in front of the women’s children and husbands.”
The New York Times report on August 23 provided more information about FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), the group blamed for the attacks, stating that it was “an ethnic Hutu rebel group that has been terrorizing the hills of eastern Congo for years, preying on villages in a quest for the natural resources beneath them.”
Read entire article at TheNewAmerican.com
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