23 June 2011 The United Nations is dispatching some of its peacekeepers to a town in the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to investigate reports of recent rapes, a spokesperson said today.
Martin Nesirky, a spokesperson for the Secretary-General, told journalists that the UN has received “several worrying reports about incidents of an unknown number of alleged rapes and looting committed in the Nyakiele area in South Kivu [province], some 40 kilometres north of Fizi town, between 9 and 12 June.”
He said the UN’s mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) was sending a team to the town, which is eight hours by foot from the nearest UN military base.
Many towns and settlements in the DRC are extremely remote because of a lack of roads and other basic infrastructure and because of the often difficult terrain.
Mr. Nesirky said the humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) Médecins Sans Frontières had separately reported treating more than 100 victims of rape and other forms of trauma since staff arrived at Nyakiele on 21 June.
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