Johannesburg: Rwandan and Congolese
rebels gang-raped nearly 200 women and some baby boys over
four days within miles of a UN peacekeepers` base in an
eastern Congo mining district, an American aid worker and a
Congolese doctor said.
Will F Cragin of the International Medical Corps
said yesterday that aid and UN workers knew rebels had
occupied Luvungi town and surrounding villages in eastern
Congo the day after the attack began on July 30.
More than three weeks later, the UN peacekeeping
mission in Congo has issued no statement about the atrocities
and said yesterday it still is investigating.
Cragin told The Associated Press by telephone that
his organization was only able to get into the town, which he
said is about 16 kilometers from a UN military camp, after
rebels ended their brutal spree of raping and looting and
withdrew of their own accord on August 4.
At UN headquarters in New York, spokesman Martin
Nesirky said yesterday that a UN Joint Human Rights team
verified allegations of the rape of at least 154 women by
combatants from the Rwandan rebel FDLR group and Congolese
Mai-Mai rebels in the village of Bunangiri.
He said the victims are receiving medical and
Nesirky said the UN peacekeeping mission has a
military company operating base in Kibua, some 30 kilometers
east of the village, but he said FDLR attackers blocked the
road and prevented villagers from reaching the nearest
Civil society leader Charles Masudi Kisa said there
were only about 25 peacekeepers and that they did what they
could against some 200 to 400 rebels who occupied the town of
about 2,200 people and five nearby villages.
"When the peacekeepers approached a village, the
rebels would run into the forest, but then the Blue Helmets
had to move on to another area, and the rebels would just
return," Masudi said.
There was no fighting and no deaths, Cragin said,
just "lots of pillaging and the systematic raping of women."