Wednesday, September 8, 2010

U.N. Officials Say 500 Were Victims of Congo Rapes

New York Times
September 7, 2010

Approximately 500 women were raped in eastern Congo in July and August, demonstrating that both rebel militias and government troops used sexual violence as a weapon, two senior United Nations officials said Tuesday.

Since United Nations officials first disclosed late last month that large numbers of women had been gang-raped, the number reported has grown, to 242 victims from at least 150 concentrated in 13 villages in North Kivu Province, including 28 minors.

But Atul Khare, the deputy head of peacekeeping and the senior official sent from United Nations headquarters to investigate, told the Security Council on Tuesday that at least 257 more women had been raped elsewhere in North Kivu and South Kivu Provinces, for a total of at least 499 victims.

The latest victims include 21 girls between 7 and 21 years old, and six men, he said.