By Nangayi Guyson – Kinshasa – BBC- Thousands of women, led by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s First Lady are on a march against sexual violence.
First Lady Olive Lembe Kabila led the women through the streets of Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province with Many of them carrying banners with slogans such as “No to sexual terrorism”, according to the AFP news agency.
“Coming here is important because violence towards women is used systematically as a weapon of war,” said Miriam Nobre of World March of Women, which organised the march.
However, Nene Rukunghu, a doctor at a hospital in Bukavu, said the international community finally seemed interested in DR Congo’s problems.
“We must fight against impunity, so that the perpetrators of violence are punished, to allow women to regain their dignity. Despite what they endure, Congolese women are strong and able to stand up again.”
The DRC’s top UN envoy also said more than 15 000 people were raped in eastern DRC last year. But he said it’s impossible for 18 000 UN peacekeepers to protect everyone in the massive area where armed groups operate.
Last week, the UN said government troops were raping and killing women in the same villages where hundreds were raped by rebels in July and August but the country’s defence minister denied saying no any soldiers were involved.
On Friday, the head of the UN mission in DR Congo, Monusco, said an estimated 15,000 people had been raped there last year.