Monday, August 23, 2010

Congo Rape: 200 Women and Boys Raped by Forces for Liberation of Rwanda

A U.N. military camp is situated about 10 miles from the town of Luvungi in eastern Congo, where 200 women and several infant boys were raped, some repeatedly gang-raped, some taken deep into the forest, abused and left to die or crawl back home. Luvungi is a mineral rich mining town with gold, cassiterite and coltan, and every rebel in the Congo wants to control the riches.

FDLR Rebels - Congo

The small staff of about 25 U.N. "peacekeepers" knew the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) and Congolese rebels were in Luvungi, but were outnumbered by the 200-400 attackers.  .
The attacks began on July 30th and continued until the rebels left of their own accord on August 4th.
A U.N. spokesman at the New York headquarters said he has verified 154 women were raped. International and local Congo health officials say they have treated 179 women but the numbers could soar as many are afraid to speak out and some women are still coming back into town from the forest.
Four young boys also were raped, said Dr. Kasimbo Charles Kacha, the district medical chief. Masudi said they were babies aged one month, six months, a year and 18 months.
"Many women said they were raped in their homes in front of their children and husbands, and many said they were raped repeatedly by three to six men," Cragin said. Others were dragged into the nearby forest.
Four young boys also were raped, said Dr. Kasimbo Charles Kacha, the district medical chief. Masudi said they were babies aged one month, six months, a year and 18 months.
Rape as a weapon of war has become shockingly commonplace in eastern Congo, where at least 8,300 rapes were reported last year, according to the United Nations. It is believed that many more rapes go unreported. 
Some reports claim that during the time of the attacks, some "Indian" peacekeepers provided a military escort for a commercial shipment, bringing charges that goods, but not civilians were protected. I'm not sure where the "Indian" peacekeepers come into the picture.

About a year ago, the U.K.'s Mirror accused two British firms, Amalgamated Metals and Afrimex, of "buying minerals" and funding armed thugs.

The Congolese government has demanded that the U.N. mission in Congo withdraw, saying it has failed in its mission. The force of 20,000 U.N. soldiers are the largest peacekeeping mission in the world, at a cost of $1.35 billion annually. The U.N. cites the 20,000 troops are far too few for the size of the mission where rebels regularly use civilians as shields. In May, the U.N. agreed to withdraw "up to 2,000 troops." So, does this mean the U.N. is occupying Congo?

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