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More Mass Rape on Congo’s Border

November 8, 2010

This article is a few days old but it’s the first I’ve seen it. It’s from the NYT:

More than 600 women and girls were recently raped along the Congo-Angola border during a mass expulsion of illegal immigrants, according to the United Nations.

Many of the victims said they were locked in dungeon-like conditions for several weeks while they were raped repeatedly by security forces. At least one woman died from her internal injuries, United Nations officials said.

Maurizio Giuliano, a United Nations spokesman in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said Friday that it was unclear on which side of the Congo-Angola border the women had been attacked, and that the United Nations was calling on both countries to investigate promptly.

“What worries us is that rape seems to be becoming endemic in several parts of Congo,” Mr. Giuliano said, also referring to recent rapes in the eastern Kivu provinces. “We fear it’s becoming part of the routine.”

[snip]

A few months ago, more than 200 women were raped in a single thatched-roof village in eastern Congo while United Nations peacekeepers were less than 12 miles away.

According to United Nations officials, the women along the border were raped in September and October at several locations during an expulsion of more than 6,000 illegal Congolese and other immigrants from Angola.

The two countries often expel each other’s citizens. Last year, Angola expelled 160,000 Congolese, while Congo expelled 51,000 Angolans, according to United Nations officials. Angola is fast becoming an economic powerhouse, with a booming oil business and diamond exports, after decades of intense civil war.

The United Nations first learned about the rapes along the border last month, after hearing scattered reports from local aid organizations. But the initial reports suggested that around 30 Congolese women had been raped, not 600. Many of the women said they had been kept in derelict buildings and gang-raped by security forces. When they were released, they said they had been forced to walk back into Congo without any clothes.

It’s very difficult to believe that more can’t be done to stop this. We spend trillions on war…

How much is a woman’s life worth?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Thain permalink
    November 8, 2010 3:35 pm

    How much is a woman’s life worth?

    Apparently not much. Are the peacekeepers too few in numbers? It seems to all be happening right under their noses. Is it like it was in Rwanda where they couldn’t use force or defend people- instead, the peacekeepers are just sort of there, providing no deterrent effect whatsoever?

    I don’t get it. The U.S. talks about Congo but nothing ever changes. But boy, we sure are focused on Iran…

  2. November 8, 2010 4:43 pm

    I am not an expert but from what I understand, it’s a matter of political will. There is plenty that can be done. It’s not like nobody knows who is doing this. The leaders are well-identified.

    And valuable natural resources that end up in computers and cell phones are part of the mix. Also, some resources are removed from the DRC by neighboring countries, including Rwanda, smuggled out, and then sold for profit.

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