Amnesty International has said in a report released on Friday that M23 rebels killed at least 20 men and raped dozens of women and girls in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Survivors and other witnesses said that between 21-30 November 2022 fighters for the Rwandan-backed M23 group summarily killed at least 20 men and raped at least 66 women and girls, mainly in Kishishe, a small town located about 100km north of Goma, the capital of North-Kivu province,” the report said.
It said that these acts were part of a campaign waged by M23 to punish and humiliate civilians suspected of being supporters of rival armed groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and local Mai-Mai militants.
“Since these attacks survivors have been living in terror and utter destitution. While some rape survivors received basic medical attention from community, health facilities most urgently need adequate medical and mental health care as well as humanitarian assistance,” said Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.
Survivors and witnesses told Amnesty International that after taking control of Kishishe, groups of M23 fighters went house-to-house, summarily killing every adult male they found and subjecting scores of women to rape, including gang rape.
One of the victims, called Aline, is quoted by Amnesty International saying, ‘‘they broke through the gate of the compound and rounded up all the men present, seven in total, who they killed. Five soldiers then raped us: six women and me.”
M23 rebels, which the UN says are backed by Rwanda, claim to be fighting for the implementation of previous political agreements with the Congolese government.
The group has taken control of large territory in North Kivu province, which borders Rwanda and Uganda, in the last year, driving half a million people to flee their homes according to the UN.
Leave a Reply