Geneva: Three groups of armed militia raped
at least 303 civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
between July 30 and 2 August, a UN preliminary report into the
atrocities said on Friday.
"At least 303 civilians were raped, in many cases
multiple times," said a statement issued by the UN Joint Human
Rights Office on their initial report on the violations.
"The known victims include 235 women, 52 girls, 13 men
and three boys," detailed the probe, following its visit to 13
affected villages in the Walikale region in Nord-Kivu
"In addition, at least 923 houses and 42 shops were
looted and 116 people were abducted in order to carry out
forced labour," it said.
Before the probe, the UN officials had noted at least 242
rapes in these villages, and another 260 in other parts of
Nord and Sud Kivu provinces.
The UN joint mission said that due to serious insecurity
in the area, it had not been able to confirm other cases and
the exact circumstances surrounding the other incidents.
But on the Walikale case, the probe identified "serious
shortcomings" on the part of the local Congolese army and
police to prevent mass rapes.
The local forces` "failure to prevent or stop the attacks
was compounded by subsequent failings on the part of MONUSCO
forces, which it says had not received any specific training
on the protection of civilians, and suffered from a number of