FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some 200 women gang-raped near Congo UN base

This article literally makes my stomach turn.  Women and babies raped.  Absolutely evil.  The UN Peacekeeping Mission needs better forces/training. 

Where is the African Union on this? 

With the Marines leaving Iraq (and Afghanistan eventually), can we tie their future deployments into training the African and Regional Standby forces/brigades to better combat these soul-less rebels? 

Will the African Union engage and better organize these standby forces?

Will the African Unon call for a timely investigation?  It's been three weeks already!

And I won't even start on the effectiveness of the United Nations as an organization.  You would think they would be shamed into action by such atrocities.  Granted I recognize the difficulties presented to the out-matched UN forces there in Africa, HOWEVER, perhaps they need a better public relations director (Martin Nesirky).  That person should be CALLING GLOBAL ATTENTION to this and seeking a solution. 

Some 200 women gang-raped near Congo UN base

Rwandan and Congolese rebels gang-raped nearly 200 women and some baby boys over four days within miles of a UN peacekeepers' base in an eastern Congo mining district, an American aid worker and a Congolese doctor said.

Will F. Cragin of the International Medical Corps said Monday that aid and UN workers knew rebels had occupied Luvungi town and surrounding villages in eastern Congo the day after the attack began on July 30.

More than three weeks later, the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo has issued no statement about the atrocities and said Monday it still is investigating.

More than three weeks later, the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo has issued no statement about the atrocities and said Monday it still is investigating.

Cragin told The Associated Press by telephone that his organization was only able to get into the town, which he said is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from a UN military camp, after rebels ended their brutal spree of raping and looting and withdrew of their own accord on Aug. 4.

At UN headquarters in New York, spokesman Martin Nesirky said Monday that a UN Joint Human Rights team verified allegations of the rape of at least 154 women by combatants from the Rwandan rebel FDLR group and Congolese Mai-Mai rebels in the village of Bunangiri. He said the victims are receiving medical and psycho-social care.

Nesirky said the UN peacekeeping mission has a military company operating base in Kibua, some 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) east of the village, but he said FDLR attackers blocked the road and prevented villagers from reaching the nearest communication point.

Civil society leader Charles Masudi Kisa said there were only about 25 peacekeepers and that they did what they could against some 200 to 400 rebels who occupied the town of about 2,200 people and five nearby villages.

"When the peacekeepers approached a village, the rebels would run into the forest, but then the Blue Helmets had to move on to another area, and the rebels would just return," Masudi said.

There was no fighting and no deaths, Cragin said, just "lots of pillaging and the systematic raping of women."

Four young boys also were raped, said Dr. Kasimbo Charles Kacha, the district medical chief. Masudi said they were babies aged one month, six months, a year and 18 months.

"Many women said they were raped in their homes in front of their children and husbands, and many said they were raped repeatedly by three to six men," Cragin said. Others were dragged into the nearby forest.

International and local health workers have treated 179 women but the number raped could be much higher as terrified civilians still are hiding, he said.

"We keep going back and identifying more and more cases," he said. "Many of the women are returning from the forest naked, with no clothes."

He said that by the time they got help it was too late to administer medication against AIDS and contraception to all but three of the survivors.

Spokeswoman Stefania Trassari said her UN Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid was monitoring the situation but that access for humanitarian workers remains "very limited due to insecurity."

Luvungi is a farming center on the main road between Goma, the eastern provincial capital, and the major mining town of Walikale.

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