US 'gravely disturbed' by DRC rapes

2011-07-06 15:22

Washington - The United States said on Wednesday it was "gravely disturbed" about the mass rape of women in a remote area of the Democratic Republic of Congo last month.

"We strongly condemn these severe human rights abuses," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement, two days after medics reported that nearly 250 women were raped in DRC in June.

Nuland said US officials were working with Congolese authorities, local and international organisations and the United Nations "to gather the information needed to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice".

"The United States has repeatedly condemned the epidemic of sexual violence in conflict zones around the world and continues to speak out strongly on this issue," she said.

"The United States is committed to working with the DRC and we urge the government to fully investigate, arrest, and prosecute those found responsible for these attacks."

Some 248 women said they were raped by soldiers in DRC's Sud-Kivu province last month, according to local medical reports, in a region the United Nations has called the world's "rape capital."

A hospital doctor in Nakiele told AFP that 121 local women reported being the victim of rape on the night of June 11 to 12.

The previous night, 55 women reported being violated in nearby Abala, a nurse said, while another health worker said 72 women in the village of Kanguli said they were also raped that night.

Rape capital

Nakiele village chief Losema Etamo Ngoma told AFP that the rapes and looting were committed by at least 150 armed men under the command of national army colonel Nyiragire Kulimushi, also known as "Kifaru".

Kulimushi, who fled a military base south of Nakiele on June 8, is a former member of the Mai Mai tribal militia which integrated into the national army in 2009 following a peace agreement with Kinshasa.

Government spokesperson Lambert Mende said forces were actively looking for Kulimushi and that a special tribunal would be set up to look into the case.

The United Nations, rights groups and foreign governments have long complained about impunity for heinous crimes committed by soldiers in DRC.

Earlier on Wednesday a UN probe found that three groups of armed militia could have committed crimes against humanity when they raped at least 387 people in the DRC in 2010.

Margot Wallstrom, the UN's special representative on combating sexual violence in conflict, has in the past called DRC the "rape capital" of the world.

  • 10111 - 2011-07-06 15:28

    In SA more than a thousand woman are raped daily.

      Mzungu - 2011-07-06 16:21

      Please substantiate this claim with official statistics(either by an NGO or governmental...) I am not saying rape doesnt occur, but your blatant spewing of such a statistic is rather mindless.

      p123 - 2011-07-06 20:30

      In Africa, rape is like eating, it means nothing. If an Afican wants a woman he can just take her, it's his rights as a 'man' - pathetic isn't it. Europe was like that 3000 years ago, it's evolution. Africans can't be expected to understand that rape is wrong. They can't even understand that throwing their KFC lunch box out of a taxi is wrong for God's sakes!!

  • Ben - 2011-07-06 15:33


  • Benzo - 2011-07-06 15:37

    Just bomb them. The US solution to all problems in the world.

  • Markal - 2011-07-06 15:51

    "The United States has repeatedly condemned the epidemic of sexual violence in conflict zones around the world and continues to speak out strongly on this issue". Yep, condemning and speaking out strongly will make them stop. You go USA! They continue to watch in amazement, hoping that things will turn out alright; just like they did in WW2, right up to the moment they get attacked. I guess there's no oil in the DRC... - 2011-07-06 16:13

      zt least the US is making people aware. what the F is anyone else doing. You can judge the US all you liek but they still one of the strongest countries and well governed countries in the world. Lets compare the states to south africa = you cant compare the two.

      Markal - 2011-07-06 16:24

      "what the F is anyone else doing". Nothing. That's the point, including the US. Making people aware of what's happening does not stop the atrocities from being committed. If one of the strongest and most well governed countries in the world can't lift a finger to try and prevent the people from suffering, then I don't have much hope for the human race. You're right, there is no comparison and I would move to the states in a heartbeat. That wasn't the point I was trying to make.

  • Ken - 2011-07-06 15:52

    Geez,250 rapes in one single month,thats terrible and the US is very concerned.In South Africa 50,000 rapes in one year=4166 rapes in one month or 136 rapes every day and thats not considered a big deal,why?Maybe we should ask the US. - 2011-07-06 16:14

      Maybe we should ask our own government instead of judging the US. We have many more faults than the US. If you havent lived there, dont judge

      aBitterPill - 2011-07-06 17:55

      @Ken: "It is estimated that 500,000 rapes are committed annually in South Africa" - Not 50,000. But yeah, your monthly amount of 4166 is correct. We have a culture of gang rape (a.k.a jackrolling) and a running myth that sex with virgins cures AIDS. No government or army is directly responsible, so the US can't make anyone look like a bad guy except our goverment. And they still treat the ANC as saints, so they won't say anything.

  • Cabindiano - 2011-07-06 19:55

    That's the issue again, when the West reacts to these violent behaviors to put order and deter the criminals we'll say they are violating the sovereignty of our beloved countries. Now, what're the hoaks of african leaders doing? Where are they now? How long has these attrocities taken place in DRC? The rape issue has been there for long and these corrupted souls of african leaders have never Condemned the situation. President Kabila has done nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice. At least the US is concerned about this continual violence to women and children. What is the african leadership doing? Where is Mugabe, Zuma, Dos Santos?

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