Problème FDLR: US Africom s'en mêle
Kigali: Controversial US military command for Africa (AFRICOM) will deploy a team of specialists to the DR Congo’s South and North Kivu Provinces as part of efforts to battle a rape-rampage by the FDLR and the army, RNA reports.
AFRICOM will be sending medical and other experts to conduct an assessment of the country’s many needs, according to US military online news service ‘Stars and Stripes’.
During her visit to the city of Goma last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a $17 million aid package aimed at preventing and responding to future acts of sexual violence.
Some 10,000 women are expected to receive assistance in the form of medical care, counseling, economic assistance and legal support.
Health care programs represent the bulk of the aid plan. However, $3 million will be dedicated to recruiting more women police officers and training law enforcement to better protect women and investigate sex crimes.
The U.S. aid also seeks to equip women with mobile phones, which will enable them to more effectively report instances of rape and document evidence with photographs and video.
The aid is being directed in an area of conflict where Congolese troops are working to root out Rwandan rebels. As a response to operations by the army, the FDLR rebels are accused of revenging with gruesome attacks on civilians – with women taking much of the brunt.
Though the DRC soldiers were deployed to provide protection to civilians from those rebels, they also have been accused of raping people they are supposed to protect.
However, AFRICOM’s role is still being defined. The mission will come into better focus after the initial assessment is conducted, AFRICOM officials are reported to have said.