8 Sep 2010

UN 'failed' DR Congo rape victims

UN troops failed 242 women and children who suffered a mass rape attack in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a top UN peacekeeping official has said.

Congo hosts the largest and most costly UN peacekeeping mission in the world, but the mass rape attacks happened just 30km from a UN base some time between July 30 and August 3 in the North Kivu region.

"Our actions were not adequate, resulting in the unacceptable brutalisation of villages in the area," Atul Khare, under-secretary general for peacekeeping operations, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

un

He said that government of the DRC holds the primary responsibility for security in the area, but acknowledged that "Clearly, we have also failed".

The area was reportedly over-run by rebels from neighbouring Rwanda and Congolese Mai Mai militia.

On July 30, the day the rapes began, the UN mission in North Kivu apparently received an e-mail warning that rebels had moved into the town and one woman had been raped there.

But the UN did not report it until ten days later.

Al Jazeera