An army commander in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has been accused of leading the recent mass rape of at least 50 women.
One of the victims, as well as sources quoted in a UN report, all accuse Lt Col Kibibi Mutware of links to New Year’s Day rapes in the town of Fizi.
There have been numerous cases of mass rape in DR Congo’s conflict but this is believed to be the largest single incident allegedly involving the army.
… As in previous cases of rape in DR Congo, many victims are expected to keep their plight secret to avoid being abandoned by their husbands and families.
Two of them agreed to talk anonymously after medics told the BBC they had been raped.
“I was raped in front of my four children,” one of them told the BBC.
“I’m ashamed, very ashamed. If I meet two or three people who are having a discussion, I assume they are talking about me, even though it is not the case.”
The other woman was able to identify her attackers.
“It was 1900 [in the evening] and those who raped me were members of the military,” she said in a low voice, her body wrapped in a colourful cloth.
“There were four of them – Kibibi and his bodyguards. They stole all our belongings and our money.”
This woman was not the only one accusing Lt Col Kibibi, current commander of the 43rd sector in the army’s Amani Leo (Peace Today) operation against rebel groups which still roam eastern DR Congo eight years after the country’s war officially ended….
Lt Col Kibibi is a strong man with a small moustache and a boonie hat. When I met him, he was sitting behind a table on which only two mobile phones and one walkie-talkie were visible.
Speaking in the thatched hut from which he commands his troops, he dismissed all accusations levelled against him as rumours and said that those soldiers who committed the crimes had disobeyed his orders to stay in the camp.
He added that he only left his base briefly on 1 January to assess the death of the lynched soldier, and only heard about the night’s violence the next morning. …
Lt Col Vianney Kazarama, the army spokesman for operations in South Kivu province, acknowledged that government soldiers were responsible for the Fizi attack but he promised swift legal action.
“All those people who have abused the population have already been arrested. The zero-tolerance policy will be enforced on the spot in Fizi,” he told the BBC. …
Lt Col Kibibi is a former member of the CNDP rebel group, which has previously been accused of numerous human rights abuses.
He was integrated into the national army as part of a peace agreement in 2009.
According to a local military source, his unit is a mixture of former militias based on Rwandan-speaking ethnic groups.
Those troops were deployed to Fizi where a conflict between the majority Babembe group and the neighbouring Banyamulenge – another Rwandan-speaking ethnic group – had been simmering for generations.
Fizi residents and soldiers also clashed in April 2010.
More than 300 women, men and children were raped by a coalition of rebel groups in the town of Luvungi and neighbouring villages in North Kivu within miles of a UN base in August. …
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.”
Four armed men barged into Anna Mburano’s hut, slapped the children and threw them down. They flipped Mrs. Mburano on her back, she said, and raped her, repeatedly.
It did not matter that dozens of United Nations peacekeepers were based just up the road. Or that Mrs. Mburano is around 80 years old.
“Grandsons!” she yelled. “Get off me!”
via New York Times
This must stop. Get better UN troops down there. Investigate. Have fair trials and get these African military rapists locked up. Change the culture so it doesn’t keep happening. I don’t know if the soldier in the image is a rapist, but looking at him and reading these stories, I’m so angry that I’m visualizing really bad things happening to him. What else can be done? Arm the women and children with better weapons than these animals?