Congolese soldiers raped 67 women: UN

2011-01-25 21:32

Geneva - Congolese soldiers raped 67 women in two separate incidents in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo in early January, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

"Two separate investigations by Monusco and UNJHRO on villages in North Kivu and South Kivu have shed light on the extent of violations committed by FARDC soldiers over the New Year period," said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner.

Monusco is the UN mission in DR Congo, while the UNJHRO is the UN joint Human Rights Office.

"In Fizi in South Kivu, at least 35 women were raped and 32 people wounded by soldiers of the 43rd FARDC sector on the night of January 1, the UNJHRO is able to confirm," he said.

In another incident in North Kivu, DR Congo army soldiers "reportedly perpetrated at least 32 rapes, including two pregnant women and one 16-year-old girl," added Colville.

Rape is frequently reported in eastern Congo and blamed on a range of armed movements, including the country's regular army.

Colville said that 11 soldiers accused of the South Kivu rapes have been detained, with trials expected to begin shortly.

"The High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay calls on the DRC authorities to ensure that the crimes are investigated and alleged perpetrators are brought to justice as soon as possible," said the commissioner's office in a statement.

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