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UN arrests rebel leader presumed responsible for DR Congo mass rape

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UN arrests rebel leader presumed responsible for DR Congo mass rape

2010-10-06 07:48:54 GMT+7 (ICT)

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) – The United Nations on Tuesday arrested the alleged leader of a rebel group that is believed to be responsible for the mass rape of more than 300 civilians.

Lieutenant Colonel Mayele, a commander of the Mai Mai Cheka, was arrested by UN peacekeepers. He is wanted for commanding the assault in Walikale, the country's eastern region two months ago, which caused international outrage.

"It is a victory for justice, especially for the many women who have suffered rapes and other forms of sexual violence," said Margot Wallström, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. "Let his apprehension be a signal to all perpetrators of sexual violence that impunity for these types of crimes is not accepted and that justice will prevail."

Between July 30 and August 2, around 200 members of three armed groups – the Maï Maï Cheka, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and elements close to Colonel Emmanuel Nsengiyumva - carried out the brutal attacks.

The attackers, armed with AK47s, grenades and machetes, initially pretended that they had come to provide security for the population, before launching attacks in small groups. Then, the rebels cut off main routes to the area and took control of a key hill, which was the only place where telephone communications were possible in the area, thereby preventing the population from raising the alarm.

The known victims include 235 women, 52 girls, 13 men, and 3 boys, some of whom were raped multiple times, according to a UN human rights report issued last month. At least 923 houses and 42 shops were looted and 116 people were abducted in order to carry out forced labor.

"It is crucial that the victims of the rapes in Walikale and in so many other places in the DRC see justice done. I call on the Government to ensure a swift, rigorous and open process of justice," said Wallström.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2010-10-06

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