On July 30, armed gangs of Rwandan Hutu rebels and Congolese militiamen attacked the remote village of Luvungi, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. For four days, unbeknownst to authorities and United Nations peacekeepers, they relentlessly raped 305 women, girls and boys. The mass crime only became public weeks later, even though Luvungi is located just 30 kilometers from a UN military base.
The attack at Luvungi caused international outrage and prompted a UN investigation. Yet, it was only the latest instance of an epidemic of sexual violence that has victimized women, children, families and communities in eastern DRC for the past 15 years.
In this special web report, the Voice of America’s Swahili, French and Kirundi/Kinyarwnada language services will give a voice to the victims; explain how Congo’s armed groups have used rape as a weapon of war; and speak to those who work to help heal the physical and psychological wounds of sexual violence.
United Nations peacekeepers patrol near their encampment in the village of Kimua, deep in the heart of territory controlled by Rwandan Hutu rebels, in eastern Congo.