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DRC: around Goma, “48 victims of sexual violence per day”

DRC: around Goma, “48 victims of sexual violence per day”
People take part in a parade marking International Women's Day, Goma, 8 March 2011   -  
Copyright © africanews
Alain Wandimoyi/AP2011

Democratic Republic Of Congo

During the last two weeks of April, "more than 670 victims of sexual violence were taken care of" in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, alerted the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Tuesday evening.

From April 17 to 30, "48 new victims of sexual violence per day" were cared for by MSF teams in sites for displaced people around Goma, capital of the troubled province of North Kivu.

Nearly 60% of them had been assaulted in the previous 72 hours, says MSF.

The vast majority of victims are women and more than half of them report having been attacked by armed men. This happens most of the time "when they travel outside the sites of the displaced, in search of firewood and food", specifies the medical organization.

The advance of the M23 rebellion (for "Mouvement du 23 mars" ) and the Rwandan army in eastern DRC for a year, and the clashes between the Congolese army and local armed groups have pushed more one million people to flee their villages.

More than 600,000 people live crammed together in "disastrous" conditions in informal camps around Goma.

MSF denounces a "critical inadequacy" of humanitarian aid, which forces displaced people to leave the sites. This "exacerbates the risk of violence they face", according to MSF.

"For months, our teams have been treating a high number of cases (of victims of sexual violence) but it had never reached the catastrophic scale of recent weeks", explains Jason Rizzo, emergency coordinator for MSF in the North- Kivu.

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