"For women it's hell" Victims of mass rape in Congo

By FRANCIS TAWIAH (Duisburg – Germany)

UN troops in eastern Congo have arrested a man, said to be responsible for the rape of nearly 250 women and children. Despite this apprehension the sexual violence in eastern Congo makes life there a brutal conflict.

Currently underway to determine whether it is indeed the suspect to the militia leader, Mayele. Eye witnesses have since identified him. When news of the arrest of the suspect arrived in the Congo, Margot Wallström said, he was satisfied with a "victory of justice." Margot Wallström is the UN Special Representative on Combating violence in armed conflicts, the so-called Lieutenant Colonel Mayele, a leader of the Eastern Congo Mai-Mai militias active is responsible for the sexual violence and fighting in Congo.

Nearly 250 women and children were raped in the attack on five villages in the province of North Kivu; some men were victims of sexual violence. The UN had to acknowledge its own error because in the country stationed peacekeepers intervened.

Many people in more than 15 years, marked by violence in Kivu provinces should be happy that Mayele is on trial soon before a military court in the Congo. But he is only one of the men in uniform who make the people of Kivu life hell. And the Mai-Mai militia is not the only one who committed the rapes deliberately and systematically as a weapon of war. About 260 more rapes occurred in the northern and southern parts of Kivu. Various militias fighting in Kivu for influence and resources terrorized the civilian population. Some of them have now been integrated into government forces.

The excesses in late July and early August which received strong international attention, was due to the number of casualties in raid, and the cases of brutality against women and girls. More than 8,000 rapes were reported last year in eastern Congo - but that was according to experts at the tip of the iceberg.

Rape in times of war - that has always existed. In Congo, where civil war has officially been terminated since 2003, the level of violence is already very many years. Helpers and physicians at the hospitals "Heal Africa” in Goma or “Bukavu Panzi” have very serious traumatized patients reports. Including about a ten year old girl that was taken after hours of rape by half a dozen rebels with severe abdominal injuries in the hospital and six months did not speak a single word.

The year's long unsettled conflict in Kivu, through which most men who were forced to fight are killed, it is women and girls working in the fields, collect firewood or fetch water, where they are raped.

"Most of the victims to go home and tell nothing about the incident because they are ashamed or afraid of being rejected by her husband because of the shame," said Kasereka Lusi, the founder and medical director of the charity "Heal Africa". "Many are raped again and again, by the rebels in the area for so long.

“For the women it's hell."
It often occurs also that women and girls are done before the eyes of their husbands, parents or sibling violence - a deliberate humiliation. Some women are given the choice to seek sexual abuse by the rebels, or a refusal to answer for the death of the husband or family. By choosing the women as the rape of the supposedly lesser evil, rejected many of these victims are behind by their families or communities because they have, it is, you brought shame to the family.

Oh! Mother Africa WHEN?

FRANCIS TAWIAH (Duisburg-Germany)