New York, US (PANA) - The Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Mr. Vijay Nambiar, has condemned the sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), reportedly perpetrated by armed groups, including the group of renegade soldiers known as the M23, and called on authorities to investigate the crimes.
A statement made available to PANA in New York on Thursday quoted Nambiar as saying that as violence escalates in the eastern DRC, he is deeply concerned that sexual violence is once again a pattern of the conflict.
''In the context of illegal activities of armed groups, serious crimes have been reported. I condemn the sexual violence reportedly perpetrated by the M23 mutineers and
other armed groups and call on the authorities to investigate these crimes promptly
and thoroughly so that the perpetrators are held accountable,” he said
He also said all armed groups must lay down their weapons, and that any external
support provided to the M23 needs to stop.
He cited an incident in the village of Epulu, in Province Orientale, in which a local militia known as Mai Mai Simba allegedly raped a number of women on 24 June and abducted several others to be used as sex slave.
Peacekeepers serving with the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) have been assisting the DRC government in protecting civilians displaced or threatened as a result of the
violent activities of armed groups.
Earlier this month, an Indian ‘blue helmet’ was killed in a cross-fire amidst clashes between the Congolese national armed forces, known as the FARDC, and M23 fighters in the eastern province of North Kivu.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 19July2012