Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) reported on Wednesday an increase in sexual violence in an eastern region of the DRCongo plagued by armed violence, estimated that more than 560 people died in a quarter.
In the third quarter of 2019, at least “476 adults and 93 minors” were victims of sexual violence in the territory of Masisi in the province of North Kivu, according to MSF.
Since the beginning of the year, « we have treated twice as many victims of sexual violence as last year, » said Ewald Stals, MSF field coordinator in the Masisi health zone.
From January to September, our teams « treated more than 11,220 malnourished children, 2,310 victims of sexual violence and 1,980 people injured by guns, » said MSF in a press release.
The increase in sexual violence and malnutrition is « linked to the deteriorating security situation » in the territories of Masisi, Rutshuru and Walikale, MSF says.
According to the NGO, this sexual violence is committed « largely by armed men but also by civilians ».
For years, the territories of Masisi, Walikale and Rutshuru, south of North Kivu province, have been the scene of armed clashes and acts of banditry.
Intensified fighting there for months has worsened the humanitarian situation, reduced access to fields and health centers, leading to displacement and worrying levels of malnutrition, sexual violence and violence. army, says MSF.
North Kivu province, bordering Rwanda and Uganda, has been insecure for 25 years due to the presence of dozens of armed groups. This area is one of the most dangerous in the Great Lakes region.