It’s more war, rape, and violence. Human Rights Watch has released its World Report 2011, including a summary for DRC. The east continues to suffer at the hands of warring factions that have been wreaking havoc for years already: the FDLR, CNDP, LRA, and Mai Mai.
Some positive developments for 2010 include the arrest of General Jerome Kakwavu in April on war crimes charges for rape and torture–the first general in Congo’s history to be arrested for rape. The Congolese government also increased military prosecutions against junior-ranked soldiers accused of human rights violations, including crimes of sexual violence.
- 242 rapes reported in and around Luvungi, a village not far from a UN peacekeepers’ camp
- 260 more rapes had come to light in the Uvira area and other regions of North and South Kivu
- 74 attacks in a village called Miki, in South Kivu. The victims included 21 children (all girls aged between seven and 15) and six men
- All the women in another village, Kiluma, may also have been systematically raped
source: BBC News, 8 Sept 2010
NB: Luvingi, Miki and Kiluma are not on google maps
UN data shows that over the past three months, 1 244 accounts of sexual violence have been reported throughout the DRC–or an average of 14 assaults per day (UNHCR Briefing Notes 23.4.2010). Most of the attacks have occurred in North and South Kivu provinces.
UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming believes these numbers are a gross underestimate, given the shame associated with rape.
A similar number of sexual assaults were recorded in the same period last year.
- 7 February, MONUC’s internal weekly security report: several attacks on villages in south Lubero Territory (date not specified). Source: Huffington Post
- 11 February, North Kivu: IRIN Africa reported that the FDLR reportedly killed seven women who were going to Bisembe forest market in Rutshuru area. Eight escaped, but only three reached home.
- February (date not specified), South Kivu: Ekklisia reported brutal attacks by suspected FDLR rebels. Fifteen women (all mothers) were abducted and raped by the armed assailants: five were brutally tortured and then beheaded, three survived and were taken to Panzi Hospital in Bukavu for emergency medical care. As of the report (9 March 2010), the remaining seven are still missing, presumed dead.
- rebels attacked a village a two-day’s walk away from Kitchanga, North Kivu. People in a refugee camp in Kitchanga are afraid to go home because of the violence. Kauta Muhima, president of a committee of leaders at Kitchanga camp, said that fighting is continuing in the surrounding villages. Source: Geoffrey York, Globe and Mail, 26 Mar 2010
A series of armed attacks by FDLR forces on camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been reported by the UN News Centre:
- 13 Jan, north-eastern DRC: information collected by OCHA suggests that the Ugandan rebel outfit, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), slaughtered some 100 people. The total number of Congolese slain by the LRA in January is still unknown, but OCHA reported that over 80 had been killed in December 2009.
- 15 Jan, North Kivu: armed militia stole a truck belonging to a humanitarian organization and then used it for a violent assault on aid workers in the Muhanga IDP camp in a bid to steal their belongings
- 22 Jan, North Kivu: OCHA said that the mainly Rwandan Hutu rebel group, known as the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR), reportedly raided the Nyange camp, killing three people and injuring several others.
- 28 Jan, southern Walikale Territory: FDLR attacked civilians in the village of Isuka and abducted seven people to transport looted goods (source: IRIN Africa)
- 31 Jan: Mayi-Mayi PARECO apparently plundered the villages of Kaviru (13 km west of Lubero) and and Ngane (45 km west of Butembo). Source: Huffington Post
- many women and girls were raped by Congolese army soldiers in the Ufumandu area of southwestern Masisi territory while Colonel Zimurinda‘s troops (FARDC) were deployed in the area during Kimia II (2009 and early 2010). Some women and girls were shot dead after being raped. In other cases, family members were killed for protesting as their loved ones were being raped by Congolese army soldiers. Source: Human Rights Watch research cited in complaint letter about FARDC Commander Zimurinda