Rebels gang-rape almost 200 women in Congo attack

Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:01pm GMT

Margot Wallstrom, the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, said in April the withdrawal of U.N. peacekeepers from the country would make the struggle against endemic rape "a lot more difficult".

Accurate figures for sexual violence are hard to come by as many rapes are unreported but the United Nations said at least 5,400 women reported being raped in neighbouring South Kivu in the first nine months of 2009 alone.

MONUC had been in the former Belgian colony since 1999 to help the government of Congo as it struggles to re-establish state control over the vast central African nation.

A 1998-2003 war and the ensuing humanitarian disaster have killed an estimated 5.4 million people in the country.

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