18 Congolese militia members on trial for raping over 40 children

Written by on November 10, 2017

Eighteen members of a Congolese militia were on trial on Friday for raping more than 40 young girls, some of them just babies, believing sex with virgins could protect them from bullets.

The men who are on trial in a military court in the eastern Congolese town of Kavuma, are also accused of murdering several people, including a German engineer, who was working in the region.

Since 2013, over 40 children under the age of 12, some as young as 18 months, have been raped near the village of Kavumu.

Some of the militia members testified that they believed sex with virgins could grant them magical powers and protect them from bullets, according to an NGO attending the trial.

Jean Kijana, President of Rights Group Nouvelle Dynamique de la Societe Civile, who attended the trial opening on Thursday, said he was pleased the case was finally before the court as it sent a strong signal in the fight against impunity.

Sexual violence is a huge problem in Congo, which has been labelled “the rape capital of the world,” with both militia members and government soldiers accused of abuses.

The east of the country has been wreaked by violence for years, with numerous rebel groups primarily fighting over the area’s rich mineral resources.


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