The number of rape victims from a four-day rebel attack in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a month ago has risen to more than 240 and will likely go higher, aid officials said on Thursday.
Giorgio Trombatore, a director of the aid group International Medical Corps, said investigators working in eastern DRC’s North Kivu Province had so far “counted 242 cases individually, one by one.”
On July 30, hundreds of members of Rwandan and Congolese rebel groups occupied villages in the Walikale region of North Kivu, assaulting their victims in groups of two to six.
Countering reports from the area that some victims were male infants, Trombatore said that all were female and that the youngest was 16 years old and the oldest 75.
Thousands of women, and hundreds of men, have been sexually assaulted by the various armed groups warring in the region.
Officials with the aid group have said that the rebels — members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and the Mai Mai — left the villages on Aug. 3, and that later that day a local administrator alerted aid organizations in the area to the mass rapes.
Rebels from the same groups were suspected of attacking workers with the International Medical Corps on Wednesday after the workers landed by helicopter in Walikale, forcing the aid workers to escape into the surrounding forest.
Trombatore said on Thursday that all the aid workers had been rescued and were safe.
Since the UN first publicly reported the mass rapes on Aug. 22, questions have arisen over how much the organization knew about the attacks as they were under way.
UN officials have said the peacekeepers did not know about the rapes until Aug. 12.
However, a leaked UN e-mail dated July 30 shows that officials there were aware that the rebels had taken over one of the villages and raped one woman within the first day of the attack.
By Aug. 10, the UN was aware that at least 25 women had been raped, according to another UN bulletin, published online.
MORE RESOURCES: The prime minister announced an extra A$1.1bn in health-related spending, of which A$150m would be spent on domestic violence support services Australia yesterday announced a nearly US$100 million boost in funding to tackle domestic violence after support services reported a spike in coronavirus-related family abuse. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there had been a 75 percent surge in Google searches for help during the ongoing nationwide shutdown of non-essential services to curb the spread of COVID-19. Women’s Safety, a domestic violence charity in Australia’s most populous New South Wales state, has reported that more than 40 percent of workers had seen an increase in client numbers, with more than one-third of cases directly linked to the virus outbreak. In neighboring Victoria, women’s support
With their health in jeopardy and customers evaporating, sex workers in France are struggling as COVID-19 threatens their livelihoods — and there is no safety net in sight. Many are being forced onto the streets as they lose their incomes, at a time when police are enforcing government orders for people to stay at home. France has been in lockdown for a week, with only essential trips outside allowed, in a bid to stop the coronavirus spreading. “I have no choice since I work on the street and I travel to people’s homes,” said Pamela, a 46-year-old prostitute from the southwestern city of
BOMA ARMY BASE: An official said military vehicles were destroyed and captured munitions were carried off in speedboats in the surprise early-morning attack Boko Haram has killed 92 troops in a seven-hour attack on an island army base, the group’s deadliest assault yet on Chad’s armed forces. Chadian President Idriss Deby told local television that he traveled to the scene of the attack on Tuesday to pay tribute to the 92 dead troops, saying it was the first time so many troops had been lost. The attack early on Monday in Boma is part of an expanding militant campaign in the vast, marshy Lake Chad area, where the borders of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria converge. Boko Haram launched an insurgency in Nigeria in 2009, before
The Great Barrier Reef has experienced a third mass coral bleaching event in five years, according to Terry Hughes, the scientist carrying out aerial surveys over hundreds of individual reefs. With three days of a nine-day survey to go, “we know this is a mass bleaching event and it’s a severe one,” Hughes told reporters. It follows the worst outbreaks of mass bleaching on record killing about half the shallow water corals on the world’s biggest reef system in 2016 and 2017. Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and one of