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Raped and executed in public: a Congolese militia’s reign of terror

Category: Gender based violence 
2017-10-11

A woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo was publicly raped, whipped and decapitated in front of a cheering crowd after serving 'forbidden fish' to a group of anti-government rebels, who later drank her blood.

 

Video footage of the execution in Luebo, in the province of Kasaï-Occidental, shows the naked woman being shamed in the town's main square by a group claiming allegiance to the Kamuina Nsapu rebel movement.

 

While the video was filmed on April 8, 2017, the footage recently emerged after circulating on Whatsapp.

 

The woman being punished was accused of serving forbidden fish to rebels who visited her restaurant.

 

'They said she gave them beans that contained pieces of a small, local fish,' a Luebo resident told France 24.

The resident added: 'Convinced that she had broken their protection charms, the council of rebels led by a man named Kabata sentenced both the woman and the son of her husband's second wife [the young man was also working there that day] to commit incest in public.'

The Kamuina Nsapu refrain from having sex, washing themselves and eating meat, fish and other items while fighting, according to Congolese researcher and consultant Anaclet Tshimbalanga.

In video of the woman's execution, the leader of the rebel group, Kalamba Kambangoma, is seen grabbing the woman by the hair before she is taken to the stage to be publicly raped.

Rebel leaders force the woman to have sex with the son of her husband's second wife, and another woman is seen whipping the pair with branches.


Following the public rape, rebels executed the woman and the young man, believed to be in his 20s, by beheading them with machetes.

Several rebels drank their blood after the execution, and some even posed with the young man's severed head, witnesses told France 24.

Onlookers can be heard applauding and screaming throughout the video. Luebo residents stayed far from the stage, witnesses said.

The bodies remained on display for two days before they were moved to a local cemetery.

Tshimbalanga, a specialist in Congolese customs, said the woman's death 'goes completely contrary to local customs, which forbid both the death sentence and incest'.

She told France 24: 'These cases of extreme violence are a result of drugs or, sometimes, of people getting caught up in the frenzy and excitement of bloodshed and war.'

The group of Kamuina Nsapu rebels seized Luebo, a town of 40,000, on March 31 and held it for 20 days until being ousted by the Congolese army on April 19.

 

During their reign, they killed about ten people, including two police officers and the wife of Luebo's administrator.

They also burned buildings, took over the local church and banned people from working and going to school.

The rebel movement emerged after the death of local tribal chief Kamuina Nsapu was killed by the Congolese army in August 2016.

Nsapu had rebelled against the authority of President Joseph Kabila's regime in Kinshasa and its local representatives.

The killing sparked violence that has escalated, including gross alleged violations such as rapes, torture and the use of child soldiers.

Groups bearing Nsapu's name have attacked government organizations, police and soldiers following his death.

Refugees have given harrowing accounts of the violence in the central region, which the UN warned had taken on 'an increasing and disturbing ethnic dimension'.


Victims recounted mutilations, including of a seven-year-old boy whose fingers were cut off, and an attack on a hospital in the village of Cinq where 90 people were killed, some because they were too injured to escape a raging fire. 

Aside from government troops, the UN has blamed a reportedly state-backed militia called the Bana Mura as well as the anti-government Kamuina Nsapu militia for a range of atrocities.


In less than a year, the violence has claimed more than 3,300 lives, according to a tally by the influential Roman Catholic Church, and displaced 1.4 million people.

Around 80 mass graves have been uncovered in the region.

The president's mandate expired last December but under a transition deal, he was allowed to remain in office until elections that are supposed to be held in late 2017.

Kabila has so far failed to set a date for the polls, heightening tensions across the country.

The Kamuina Nsapu, which has been fighting Congo's government for a year, and has summarily executed dozens of people.

Typically its members would execute a government official and decapitate them, removing the head to put it in 'sacred fire'.

Refugees were convinced that the Kamuina Nsapu had magical powers, and militia members believed their magic - including young girls drinking the blood of decapitated victims - would make them invincible, the report said.

 

Source 

Tags: woman Congo rape Kamuina Nsapu

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