Democratic Republic of the Congo: Mass Rapes Committed by Army Deserters
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 8:55 AM

Former militia troops have attacked and raped more than 170 women in the Fizi territory of Congo after deserting the Congolese Army earlier in June.  The Fizi area has experienced a sharp increase in sexual violence this year, and attacks on aid workers are also increasing. In western Fizi, Hutu paramilitaries who fled Rwanda are responsible for most mass rapes, which are used to terrorize villages and establish ownership of resources.  In other areas of the territory, women are vulnerable to attack from Congolese military forces and the militia groups who have been absorbed into the Army.

SOS Femmes en Danger (SOSFED), an organization operating centers for sexual assault survivors, has seen the effects of these attacks firsthand. So far this year, SOSFED has treated 70 sexual assault victims in Fizi, almost all of whom were attacked by government soldiers.  Organizations like SOSFED are not safe from attacks themselves. SOSFED centers have been looted by militia, and in May a SOSFED worker was shot in the head by a government soldier while escorting women home.  Fortunately, the worker survived and the shooting is being investigated.  The government has also prosecuted some high-profile cases of assaults due to international pressures. Aid workers, however, are pessimistic about the chance of change without a more assertive international intervention.


Compiled from:  “Congolese Army Deserters Blamed for Mass Rape of 170 Women in South Kivu” (28 June 2011). The Advocacy Project.