June 17, 2024

Burundi Soldiers Raped Civilians In DRC, Report Says

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A report by a human rights group has revealed that Burundi soldiers deployed to help quell violence in the strife-torn eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo raped, abducted, and mistreated civilians.

However, the campaign of violence against the locals in South Kivu started in late 2021 “away from the public eye,” said the BHRI in its report.

“Victims and their family members said that Burundian soldiers and members of the youth league of the ruling party in Burundi… raped, abducted, arbitrarily detained, and ill-treated Congolese civilians and looted their belongings,” it added.

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In one instance, in September 2022, soldiers raped a Burundian woman and her 16-year-old sister-in-law. This was in front of her three children, the report said.
For years, Burundian forces have conducted joint operations with their Congolese counterparts. This is especially true in the region plagued by numerous armed groups and other militias, a legacy of regional wars that broke out in the 1990s and 2000s.

Additionally, they also called on “international actors” to pressure Burundian authorities, especially President Evariste Ndayishimiye, to guarantee that proper investigations would be conducted.

“Unless this is done, there will be no justice for Congolese victims. And human rights violators in the Burundian army will continue to be promoted and rewarded,” the rights campaigners said.

In conclusion, the rights group, which is based abroad, called for credible investigations into the alleged abuses. They also called for the punishment of soldiers found guilty and their commanders.

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