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D. R. of Congo: Human Rights Activist Assaulted, Guard Killed

Denis Mukwege, a Human Rights Activist and gynecologist particularly known for his work protecting women against sexual violence, was victim of an assault at his home [fr] in Bukav on October 25, 2012, during which his guard was killed.

In 1994, the genocide in Rwanda (which has a common border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC) forced around two million people to move to the Eastern DRC. These people were mainly Hutus with some extremist militia from interahamwe, responsible for massacres of Tutsi and moderate Hutu opponents. These militia used mass rape as a weapon of war – the deliberate, planned damage of women's and girl's genitals.

In a speech to the United Nations on September 25, 2012, Dr Mukwege, who has made known to the world the atrocities suffered [fr] by the women who had been victims of rape in his country, told of the scale of the horror:

500.000 Congolaises violées pendant 16 ans.

500,000 Congolese women and girls raped over 16 years.

 

Doctor Mukwege is not just known for his stance on this issue and his repeated criticisms of armed groups who reign with terror in the Eastern of DRC but also because he cares for victims free of charge.

Denis Mukwege

Denis Mukwege on Wikipedia by Radio Okapi (under Creative Commons Licence-NC-2.0)

Denis Mukwege told [fr] of the assault to which he was subjected:

Hier soir, j’ai été attaqué à la maison autour de 19 heures. Des hommes en armes se sont introduits dans ma parcelle quand j’étais sorti pour déposer des visiteurs qui étaient chez moi pour prendre un taxi. Donc ils se sont introduits, ils ont neutralisés les sentinelles, les enfants qui étaient dans la maison ; et donc ils attendaient au salon, quand je suis arrivé ils ont quitté le salon ils se sont précipités dans mon véhicule, m’ont arraché les clefs de contact. Tous étaient armés, fortement armés, et donc un des leurs est sorti de ma voiture quand on m’avait déjà fait descendre de la voiture et c’est lui qui a tiré malheureusement sur mon gardien puisque quand on m’a amené le gardien a commencé à crier … Ils n’ont rien pris sauf le véhicule.

Last night, I was attacked at home at around 7 pm. Armed men entered my grounds after I had gone out to drop off my visitors so they could get a taxi. So they entered, they overpowered the guards, the children who were in the house; and so they waited in the living room, when I arrived they left the living room they rushed into my vehicle, tore my ignition key from my hands. All were armed, heavily armed, and then one of them got out of my car when they had already made me get out of the car and it was him who unfortunately shot my guard since when they took me the guard started screaming… They took nothing except the car.

It is believed the doctor and his family have abandoned their home.

Yesterday, on October 31 in Bukavu, people called for a day of closures to protest against the insecurity, [fr] which was a success.

Here is a video of Denis Mukwege by VOACongoStory that explains his fight to protect women against sexual violence [fr]:

These rapes, which were committed in a climate of general indifference and have remained unpunished for so many years are corrupting society at all levels. In August 2011, an MP who threatened a journalist with rape (video) [fr] aroused a public outcry, with the result that the MP ended up making an apology (video) [fr]).

 

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