It is also the site of horrific abuses of human rights. The short story is that there have been attacks on a village that I visited back in June, where at least 4,000 people have fled into the forest, and at least 156 cases of rape have been reported in a three day period last week.
This includes everyone from little boys to grandmothers, with most reporting that they were raped by between 2 and 6 men.
I was quoted in the New York Times article, entitled Rwandan Rebels Raped at least 150 Women in Congo.
Miel Hendrickson, a regional director for the International Medical Corps, which has been documenting the rape cases, said, “We had heard first 24 rapes, then 56, then 78, then 96, then 156.”
“The numbers keep rising,” she said.
I’ve heard already from colleagues of being quoted as well in the Minneapolis and google tells me that folks in Australia are also learning of the tragedies here in DRC. My program coordinator was also featured on a BBC interview a couple of mornings ago, here is the transcript with more details about the incidents.
The situation is comprehensible. Such a beautiful place struggling with such difficult circumstances.