More than 100 women raped in brutal mass attack on town in Democratic Republic of Congo

Central African nation has been beset by difficulties

Rose Troup Buchanan
Friday 15 May 2015 16:25
A rape victim pictured in a centre in 2012
A rape victim pictured in a centre in 2012

More than 100 women have been raped in a brutal attack in a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a human rights report.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) claims that as many as 127 women have sought medical attention after an armed militia swept through Kikamba in South Kivu, on the evening of 1 May.

According to reports from witnesses and survivors, and gathered by MSF, roughly 60 men attacked male villagers, looted homes and raped a significant number of women, aged from 14 to 70.

"Large-scale sexual assaults linked to armed groups are, unfortunately, not exceptional within the DRC context," said Francisco Otero, MSF head of mission in South Kivu.

The organisation has been working to help victims of horrendous and endemic sexual violence in the DRC, notoriously labelled by a UN official in 2010 as the “rape capital of the world”.

Aid workers estimates as many as one in three women to the north of the country have been raped, with over 30 per cent infected with HIV as a result.

Last year a Human Rights Watch report claimed that militia groups and government forces were using rape as a weapon of war in order to “punish” civilians belonging to a particular ethnic group.

The DRC, located in central Africa and home to more than 75 million people, fell into a complicated civil war in 1996 that engaged more than 20 armed groups.

More than 4.5 million people – many of them civilians and children – are believed to have died as a result of the widespread chaos in the resources-rich nation.

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