A woman who was gang-raped and burned in her house told a military court last week in the Democratic Republic of Congo that she saw an army colonel give the rape order. She identified him as Lieutenant Colonol Bedi Mobuli Engangel. The woman, who refused to be identified for her safety, is one of a 1,000 people who named Engangela as the one who ordered gang-rape. Engangela was a militia leader before he joined the Congolese army. He is currently on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The woman testified with her identity hidden. She sat in a box next to the judges who flinched at the brief sight of the burns on her body. The woman said that Engangela gave the order to his soldiers to burn her house, after she was raped four times, while she and her four year old son were still inside.
The UN says the trial is a test case for the Congolese military, which has failed to convict high-ranking officers accused of sexual violence.
Horrific levels of rape and other forms of sexual violence have plagued eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for almost two decades. Tens of thousands of women, girls, men and boys have been raped and otherwise sexually abused by either the Congolese army or the non-state militias.
DR Congo woman ‘saw Col Engangela order gang-rape’, BBC, 22.08/2014
Democratic Republic of Congo: Ending Impunity for Sexual Violence, Human Rights Watch, 10/06/2014
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