126 rapes in eastern DRC in November

2012-12-19 12:52

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Johannesburg - The United Nations has documented 126 cases of rape in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, after Congolese soldiers fled advancing rebel troops of the M23 movement.

"Nine soldiers from the Armed Forces have been arrested, two in connection with the rapes and seven in connection with lootings," Martin Nesirky, a UN spokesperson, said in New York late on Tuesday.

The soldiers fled rebel forces, who held Goma, the main city in the east, for more than a week this month, before eventually agreeing to retreat in return for negotiations with the Democratic Republic of Congo government.

The talks, which are taking place in Uganda, are progressing slowly, amid tensions between the sides.

The UN said it had launched an investigation along with the government into the rapes, and support for the army units was being reconsidered.

The UN peacekeeping mission in DRC is the largest and most expensive in the world, but is stretched thin across the massive central African nation. A review is underway into how the peacekeepers lost Goma to the M23.

The rebels, mostly former soldiers of Tutsi ethnicity, picked up arms this year, citing various grievances against the government.

- SAPA
Read more on:    m23  |  drc  |  central africa
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