Girl, 10, shares horror of rape amid humanitarian crisis in DR Congo

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A 10-year-old girl writhes around in front of us.

“Even now, my body is hurting me,” she says.

She has been raped – in the place her family ran to for sanctuary.

“Only an animal would do this,” says one of the men listening.

The little girl, who has not yet reached puberty, is living in a large tented camp in Bunia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with nearly 10,000 other people who’ve fled their homes.

Her family has already suffered enormous trauma. Their village was attacked, their homes burned and neighbours slaughtered.


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Girl, 10, shares horror of rape
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She still suffers from nightmares following the attack

About two months ago, they were living in Dhendro in the Ndgugu district of Ituri Province, until about 80 attackers descended on the community wreaking havoc.

“The militia came and were killing people by machete. They killed all my goats and destroyed all our belongings, everything,” the little girl’s father tells Sky News.

He says about 40 villagers were killed. At least those were the bodies he saw. There could have been more.

Her father took them there because he hoped it would be safe
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The girl’s father took them to the large tented camp in Bunia expecting it would be safe

“They were well prepared,” he adds. “They had machetes, guns, arrows and army trucks.”

He insists they were from the Lendu tribe while he and all the others in the camp appear to be from the Hama tribe.

“But where are they getting their weapons from?” he asks us. The question is posed in a way which suggests he believes he knows the answer.

“It comes from the Government,” he answers without waiting for my reply.

Thousands are living in make shift tents
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Thousands are living in makeshift tents
The family's home was torn to pieces
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The family’s home was torn to pieces

But if that trauma were not enough, this man and his family have been through even more.

“I thought we were going to be safe here,” he says. “I brought my family here believing we would be okay.” His voice tails off.

His eldest daughter was sleeping when a man more than twice her age attacked her. Her screams brought her father running to her but not in quick enough time.

He says the little girl suffers from nightmares now, often waking screaming in the night. Her four younger siblings are equally scared.

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The family we spoke to are the victims of a rape epidemic in DR Congo

“I still have a hurt,” says the 10-year-old.

Some of the rape statistics in the Democratic Republic of Congo are truly shocking. A United Nations report in 2011 found there were an estimated 48 rapes every hour in the country.

Rape is often used as a weapon of war and with the recent spike in violence across the country, there is every likelihood the rape statistics will have risen too.

There are multiple conflicts, rampant corruption and apparent ethnic attacks which have led to the country being described by the United Nations as the world’s longest humanitarian crises.

A donor conference in Geneva set for Friday is due to try to raise billions of dollars in aid to help the millions who have been displaced by the violence or who are identified as needing aid.

UN peacekeeping soldiers return to their patrol vehicle in the Djugu area of Iuri
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UN peacekeeping soldiers return to their patrol vehicle in the Djugu area of Iuri

But the DR Congo government has withdrawn from the conference, saying outside agencies are meddling in the country and determined to besmirch the country’s name.

More from Democratic Republic of Congo

DRC President Joseph Kabila is under intense international pressure to call elections after citing security reasons for overstaying his mandate, which expired in December 2016.

Many of the civilians we spoke to believe much of the current unrest may be deliberately stoked by authorities with a vested interest in delaying or postponing the poll.



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