M23 rebels raped women during killings – Amnesty

 A new report from Amnesty International claims that M23 rebels raped more than 66 women and girls mainly in the Kishishe village in the Dem­ocratic Republic of Congo in November last year, in a wave of violence where they are accused of hunting down and killing men.

The latest report adds to a growing list of war crimes allegedly committed by fighting groups in the conflict that has been running for decades. M23 denies the claims.

The report claims that mem­bers of the rebel group killed at least 20 men and raped dozens of women and girls mainly in Kishishe, a small village located 100km (62 miles) north of the provincial capital, Goma.

In the interviews, some of which the BBC has seen, women narrate how rebels attacked the village, broke into their homes, raped them and killed their men.

A regional official who spoke to the BBC anonymously says he witnessed the women and children fleeing, and echoed Amnesty International’s concerns that survivors of sexual assault were not receiving sufficient health care beyond basic kits.

But the M23 denies its soldiers raped women in Kishishe.

M23 chairman, Bertrand Bisimwa, dismissed the reports as propaganda and told the BBC his group insists on an independent investigation to establish what happened.

Amnesty International believes these acts were part of a campaign waged by M23 to punish and humiliate civilians suspected of being supporters of rival armed groups.

These attacks were part of last year’s massacre which the UN es­timates killed at least 131 civilians. —BBC

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