It is nearly six years since the incidence of a mass rape of more than 300 civilians residents of the Walikale region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by armed groups.
In 2010, in Walikale territory, North Kivu Province of DRC, civilian residents in 13 villages on the Kibua-Mpofi road were attacked by a coalition of about 200 soldiers from the Maï Maï Sheka/Nduma Defence of Congo militia, led by Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka; the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), led by Serafin Lionso; and a group of army deserters.
Over a period of four days – from 30 July to 2 August 2010 – 387 civilians, including women, girls, men and boys, were systematically raped and subjected to other forms of sexual violence by the assailants in one of the worst mass rape incidents in the country.
During the attacks, other human rights violations, including murder, ill-treatment, abduction and looting also occurred, with 1,429 total victims affected.
The United Nations envoy on sexual violence in conflict has called on the international community to be relentless in seeking accountability for the rape crimes.
“We must never forget the victims of one of the most shocking mass rapes in recent history. To all the victims in Walikale and beyond, we say: justice may have been delayed, but it should not be denied,” said Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, in a press release.
“As Walikale remembers today, the world will remember, and will continue to call for the prosecution of all perpetrators, reparations for all victims, and deterrence for the future,” she added.
The Special Representative noted that the Congolese Government has already completed investigations into the rapes and has issued eight arrest warrants for the crimes.