A few weeks after reports of hundreds of men, women and children being raped in the eastern DRC, there’s word of yet another brutal incident involving Congolese. However, the latest incident reportedly occurred in neighboring Angola.
A U.N. agency says at least 30 women were allegedly held captive in a dungeon-like structure in Angola this month and brutally raped over a period of weeks. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – or OCHA – says the women were among a group of 150 DRC nationals, who recently arrived in Bandundu Province in southwestern Congo. They had gone to Angola to work as laborers.
A tale of horror
The Congolese say all 150 had been detained by men who identified themselves as Angolan authorities.
OCHA spokesperson Stefania Trassari says information about the incident came from a local organization working at the Angolan-DRC border.
(According to the Congolese), "some women were raped - rapes that lasted approximately two weeks. These women were trapped in a prison together with men and also children for two weeks. And then they were repeatedly raped. Not only women, but also men and minors,” she says.
Two of the women were reportedly raped by 10 men each. Two women and two men are reported to have died from their injuries.
Investigation to begin
While the Congolese say they were detained and brutalized by men identifying themselves as Angolan authorities, this has not been confirmed.
“Officially, we cannot say they have done it. The most important concern is the humanitarian situation of these people. So we are concerned about a possible new wave of expulsions that can take place in the next weeks,” she says.
Humanitarian organizations are poised to send an assessment team into Angola to try to gather more evidence and information about the incident.
Trassari says the 150 Congolese need assistance.
“These people have arrived in very deplorable condition and by now only a few organizations, local organizations, are supporting them with psychological support at the hospital and with medicine and with food,’ she says.
The Congolese say they were finally released and forced to walk about 180 kilometers through the bush to the DRC border.
OCHA is not aware of any reaction from the Angolan government about the alleged incident.