DR Congo government troops are raping and killing women in remote villages where hundreds were the victims of mass rapes by militias just a few weeks ago, a top UN envoy said Thursday.
Margot Wallstrom, UN special envoy on sexual violence against women in conflict, said it was "unimaginable" that the same communities in the mineral-rich region of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo were again the target of sexual assaults.
She said the UN mission, MONUSCO, had reported new attacks in the Walikale region where in late July and August militias and Rwandan rebels rounded up women and raped them in front of their villages and families.
Wallstrom has in the past called DR Congo the "rape capital" of the world.
"I am greatly concerned about the ongoing military operations by FARDC (DR Congo army) in the Walikale territory and the implications for the protection of civilians," she told the Security Council on Thursday.
"Thousands of FARDC troops have been deployed to the territory in an operation to implement the president's moratorium on mining in the area and to reassert government control.
"There is already some information from MONUSCO peacekeepers on the ground that rapes, killings and lootings have been perpetrated by FARDC soldiers.
"The possibility that the same communities that were brutalized in July and August by FDLR and Mai-Mai elements are now also suffering exactions at the hands of the FARDC troops is unimaginable and unacceptable."
Wallstrom blamed the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and Mai-Mai militia for the mass rapes in July and August.
A Mai-Mai leader, Lieutenant Colonel Mayele, was arrested in an operation by Indian peacekeepers with the MONUSCO mission on October 5. Wallstrom praised the Indian soldiers.
But she called on the DR Congo government to investigate the new attacks and "swiftly hold any perpetrators to account."
Source: AFP Global Edition