Congo troops raped 121 women: UN

Government troops in Congo raped at least 121 women over a three-day period, then pillaged their village in the restive east of the country, the UN human rights office in Geneva says.
Women participate in the World March of Women in Bukavu, South Kivu province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Oct. 17. The United Nations says 15,000 cases of rape were reported in 2009 in the eastern provinces alone. A UN report released Friday says government troops in Congo raped at least 121 women over a three-day period last month. (Gwenn Dubourthoumieu/AFP/Getty Images)

Government troops in Congo raped at least 121 women over a three-day period, then pillaged their village in the restive east of the country, the UN human rights office in Geneva said Friday.

A spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said the incident allegedly occurred June 11-13 in the village of Nyakiele in South Kivu province.

A UN team that visited the area "confirmed that large-scale rape, pillaging and cruel and degrading treatment were committed in Nyakiele," spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

He said UN investigators would return to the restive region next week to gather more information on the incident, which was first reported by medical aid group Medicins Sans Frontieres last week.

Armed groups in eastern Congo have frequently used rape as a weapon of war. The region has been wracked by violence since Rwanda's 1994 genocide spilled conflict across the border.

Hutu militias that participated in the massacres of more than 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus sought refuge in Congo.