UN 'ignored DRC rape warnings'
Assistant secretary general to investigate after community leaders say they begged for help before villagers were raped. Pressure grew on the UN over its peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Wednesday after claims that it ignored appeals for protection just days before more than 240 villagers were raped by rebel forces. Human rights groups said the UN was still failing to safeguard civilians after 11 years in the DRC and demanded an urgent review.
The attacks took place between July 30 and August 4, and the number of reported victims is now 242, ranging from a month-old baby boy to a 110-year-old woman. Survivors have accused the FDLR rebel group—which is led by perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide who fled to DRC—along with Congolese Mai-Mai militia.
Charles Masudi Kisa said his Walikale Civil Association sounded the alarm on July 25, telling local authorities that the withdrawal of soldiers from several outposts was putting people in danger of attacks from rebels. The military had abandoned every post from Luvungi to just outside Walikale for unclear reasons, he said.
On July 29, acting on information from motorcycle taxis, he warned the UN civil affairs bureau in Walikale, the army and the local administration that rebels were moving in on Luvungi. Lyn Lusi, programme manager of the Heal Africa hospital in Goma, which treated many of the rape victims, said appeals had gone unheeded.
Lusi said Khare had announced that the UN would clarify its rules of engagement so that peacekeepers could intervene more aggressively.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at Mail & GuardianSimilar Stories