Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rape and brutality by the Congolese army


At a makeshift recreation center at a hospital here in eastern Congo, about 500 women surround one of their own, who's lying on the floor.

She clutches a cane as she struggles to get up. The women begin singing, slowly at first and then the song picks up momentum. Before long the young woman lifts herself, drops the cane and begins to walk around the room as if in a trance, singing and clapping. The other women clap along with her as the singing gets louder and louder.

The young woman's name is Tintsi and she's barely 20 years old. She arrived at the hospital three weeks ago on a stretcher carried by relatives who walked 100 miles to get here. Doctors weren't sure Tintsi would ever walk again.

Tintsi, like everyone else in this room, is a victim of the worst kind of sexual violation imaginable. (Watch rape victims try to rebuild their lives -- 5:38)

"Some of them have knives and other sharp objects inserted in them after they've been raped, while others have pistols shoved into their vaginas and the triggers pulled back," said Dr. Denis Mukwege Mukengere, the lone physician at the hospital. "It's a kind of barbarity that only savages are capable of."

He added that "these perpetrators cannot be human beings."

The alleged perpetrators are men in uniform, part of the Congolese army. These troops are a compilation of various militia groups that had been fighting each other for years until a truce was reached two years ago.

A recent report by the United Nations found that Congo's own soldiers were responsible for the nearly seven dozen complaints of crimes and human rights violations over the past two months. Among the crimes committed were extrajudicial executions, disappearances, rapes and brutal beatings, according to the U.N. report.

Rights abuses 'rife in Africa'


DR Congo: The human rights situation in Apr 2006

Punish DR Congo rapes, urges UN

A Brutal Legacy of Congo War

“Not Women Anymore…”

In War-Riddled Congo, Militias Rape with Impunity

War Rape Trauma Lingers In Congo

Congo rape victims seek solace

Report shows DR Congo rape horror


Rights group reveals Congo rape horror


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