Goma : hundreds of cases of sexual violence recorded in Kanyarutchinya

Goma : hundreds of cases of sexual violence recorded in Kanyarutchinya

Cases of sexual violence, since the resurgence of the M23, have gone on the rise in the village of Kanyarutchinya, located in Nyiragongo territory and in Bulengo, west of the city of Goma in North Kivu. Leaders of camps for displaced persons reveal a toll of 402 cases already recorded. Most of the victims are displaced people who fled the war between the M23 and the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo). INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Displaced women go to Munigi every day to collect flour to prepare porridge. Usually there are long queues. To benefit from this flour, you have to wake up very early and it is on the way that they meet armed men who abuse them.

The head of the Kanyarutchinya IDP camp, Théo Musekura says he has already recorded at least 402 cases of women victims of sexual violence.

“Some were raped during their displacement. But the majority of these attacks occurred during daily activities of these women outside the IDP sites. They are usually raped at night or very early in the morning when they go in search of food in the fields”, he said.

According to figures provided by MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières), between July and December last year, 262 patients were received at the Kanyarutchinya health center.

“Since the beginning of 2023, in the space of just 6 weeks, 155 women in Kanyarutchinya and 188 in Munigi have reported to medical teams for sexual assault”, specifies the NGO.

It should also be noted that as of February 24, MSF had already received 143 patients at the Tumaini clinic, including 47 in just three days.

At the beginning of February, several displaced women demonstrated in the streets of Goma to say no to sexual violence of which they are victims. They asked the Congolese government to restore peace in the province of North Kivu.

Recently, women’s associations and civil society leaders in North Kivu accused the M23 of having raped about a hundred women in recent months. But the rebel movement spokesman Major Willy Ngoma denied the allegations.

“[…] You have to ask yourself the question : who carried out these investigations? Where exactly were the women raped? What day? You will realize that this is not our modus operandi. in Bunagana? Why did we not rape in Kiwanja? Why did we not rape in big centers that I cite as Rutshuru-centre…but we have to go and rape in Kishishe….I don’t know where else…”, he defended himself.

And he continued the explanations “We, the Congolese revolutionary army, we spent four years in Uganda in a military camp. Ask Ugandans. We were in a district where there are beautiful girls, the Banyankole. For four years, the Congolese revolutionary army never raped a single girl. Ask the Ugandans. These are things they say to smear us and some organizations are looking for banknotes. This is false and very false. The M23 can in no way rape women”.

At the end of November 2022, Congolese authorities had accused the M23 of having killed at least 272 civilians in Kishishe, a village located in the territory of North Kivu. The Congolese minister in charge of justice had filed a complaint with the ICC (International Criminal Court) a few days later, accusing the rebellion in the same way as Rwanda.

The M23 had demanded an independent investigation into these massacres and accused Congolese authorities of “wanting to discredit us with the population”.

Previous DRC (Masisi) : M23 carries out violent attacks on FARDC positions around Sake
Next Goma: ma mia ya visa vya ubakaji yaripotiwa eneo la Kanyarutchinya