DRC women protest mass rapes

2010-10-17 22:04

Kinshasa - Thousands of women, led by the Democratic Republic of Congo's First Lady, have marched in the country's volatile east to demand an end to a wave of mass rapes.

First Lady Olive Lembe Kabila led the women through the town of Bukavu on Sunday. The United Nations recently reported that 303 civilians were raped in 13 nearby villages between July 30 and August 2.

The DRC's top UN envoy also said more than 15 000 people were raped in eastern DRC last year. But he said it's impossible for 18 000 UN peacekeepers to protect everyone in the massive area where armed groups operate.

Another UN official said most attacks were committed by "men in uniform".

The DRC's defence minister denied that soldiers were involved. But the justice minister said courts have prosecuted several officers, including a general.