- The international aid organisation, Oxfam has reported a surge on sexual violence, torture and forced labour among civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since a government offensive against rebels began in January.
According to the organisation’s survey carried out on 569 civilians living in 20 conflict-ridden communities in Nord and Sud Kivu provinces, people live in constant fear from both government troops and rebels.
The report said more that 80 percent of those interviewed said security conditions had become worse, during United Nations-backed military operations launched this year to defeat Rwandan, Ugandan rebels in Congo.
The survey found that sexual violence had dramatically increased since the offensive began. “Women were most likely to be the victims but children and men had also been targeted,” it said.
Congo's army launched a joint operation with Rwanda's armed forces in late January against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), who have operated out of the region since the aftermath of Rwanda's 1994 genocide.
A quarter of the communities surveyed spoke of torture, with some reporting that people were buried up to their necks in the ground by FDLR members until they agreed to pay their captors for their release.
Oxfam further charged that the UN was supporting army operations which are being led by rights abusers, and is further backing Congo's government which is failing to arrest officers responsible for atrocities against women.
Some of the Rwandan rebels were part of the extremist Hutu militias that took part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Many others were not, but voluntary disarmament has stalled and Kigali refuses to negotiate with the FDLR.
The Hutu rebels have been central to Congo's wars since 1994, when they crossed into the country from Rwanda.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.