African Press Association
Angola expels Congolese refugees

Congolese conflict breeds fatherless kids

From HASSAN ONYANGO in Kampala, Uganda
KAMPALA, (CAJ News) – THOUSANDS of children face a dire future without fathers as a result of a rape spree charactersing the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Humanitarian agencies reported a significant number of the 14 000 Congolese refugees that have fled to the neighbouring Uganda were victims of rape and by armed rebel groups.

Some women have sometimes been raped more than once or by gangs.

The imminent crisis of children growing up without fathers has been confirmed at the Nyakabande Transit Centre in the western Kisoro District in Uganda.

“All these women who make it here were victims of rape and other forms of gender based violence,” said an official at the centre.

“Some 99 percent of the pregnant women in this camp will not be able to single out the fathers of their babies, because they have been raped by so many men.”

CARE International, the global aid organisation lamented the prevalence of rape against civilians.

“The use of sexual violence against women and girls in DRC must stop. The world cannot stand and continue to watch and accept what is happening,” said Delphine Pinnault, CARE Uganda Country Director.

Thousands of Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries during the escalating conflict.

Most of the displacement from DRC is from communities in Rutshuru, Masisi, Goma, Beni and Uvira districts.

The number of Congolese refugees in Uganda is projected to reach 100 000 in the coming weeks if tensions deepen.
– CAJ News

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