UN says 170 may have been raped in DR Congo attacksAgence France-Presse
KINSHASA—An emergency response team including trauma counselors will head to the eastern Congolese villages where up to 170 people were recently raped, the UN said Friday.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the team headed for Nyakiele and Abala in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo would care for the victims of recent attacks some have blamed on government soldiers.
On Thursday, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said more than 100 women and girls had been beaten or raped in attacks carried out between June 10 and 12.
Celine Schmitt, a UNHCR spokeswoman, said a “mobile emergency response team” would head to the area and that reports from local organizations indicate up to 170 women might have been raped.
The British charity Oxfam and the Italian organization Cooperation and Development “will provide psycho-social support to the victims” were headed to the area, she said.
Jean-Marie Ngoma, a lawmaker in the eastern South Kivu province where the attacks took place, blamed the assaults on government troops.
And he named Colonel Niragire Kifaru, a former member of the Mai Mai tribal militia before he integrated his forces into the national army, as responsible.
Colonel Vianney Kazarama, spokesman for the DR Congo armed forces (FARDC) in Sud-Kivu province, denied that Colonel Kifaru had been involved in the rapes.
The FARDC spokesman nevertheless admitted that Kifaru had deserted and “taken to the bush, because he wanted troops (being integrated into the regular army) to be taken into consideration, because they had no water and nothing to eat.”