Human Rights Watch

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DR Congo: Gangs Kidnap, Rape in National Park

Armed Criminals Abducted at Least 170 People, Many Women, Since 2017

Thursday 30 July 2020


(Goma, July 30, 2020) – Criminal gangs have kidnapped for ransom at least 170 people near the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo between April 2017 and March 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. Small groups armed with guns and machetes have beaten, tortured, and murdered hostages, raping women and girls, who make up more than half of them, while using threats to extort money from their families. Congolese law enforcement should take steps to dismantle the criminal gangs and arrest those responsible for the kidnappings and sexual violence in the Bukoma area of Rutshuru territory in North Kivu province. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo, MONUSCO, which has a field base within a 10-kilometer radius of the agricultural fields and areas where most kidnappings have occurred, should protect civilians by actively patrolling in high-risk areas, consistent with its mandate.
Illustrations and animations by Edizon Musavuli

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