Agence France-Presse, May 9, 2009
GOVERNMENT troops sodomised pygmies in March in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, believing they would gain supernatural powers, a regional rights group said.
“Some soldiers from the 85th Brigade sodomised three male pygmies to gain supernatural powers and protection in Kisa village in Walikale territory,” the Human Rights League of the Great Lakes said.
“The village chief was stripped and (sodomised) in the presence of his wife, his children and daughter in-law.
“The children in turn were stripped and raped in front of their father.”
It said armed groups in the region also abused the pygmies.
Elderly citizens and children were also being raped by the armed groups and wayward FARDC soldiers in eastern DRC, it added.
The pygmies live essentially as subsistence hunter-gatherers in the forests in the DRC’s equatorial zones and have been targeted by militia groups in the past.
Among the armed groups roaming the eastern part of Congo are the Rwandan Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda rebels.
Some of its members are accused of being among the main perpetrators of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide by Hutus against the Tutsi minority.
The United Nations and global human rights organisations have accused the FDLR of engaging in mass murder, rape and pillage of locals’ property.