Systematic sexual violence continues to be carried out against Congolese women and girls caught up in mass expulsions from Angola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to a U.N. envoy.
Community leaders recorded 182 reported rapes in seven villages along the border in January alone, while a U.N. assessment mission confirmed 1,357 reported rape cases in one village in a six-to-eight-month period last year, said the official, Margot Wallstrom.
"My findings strongly suggest that sexual violence is systematically being carried out against Congolese women and girls in the context of expulsions from Angola to (Congo)," said Wallstrom, who visited the area.
"Many of the survivors who I spoke with confirmed that these violations occur in detention facilities in Angola as well as on the Congolese side of the border," she said in a statement.
"Women recounted that they were raped by uniformed security forces during expulsion from Angola," Wallstrom said, adding the figures had probably been under-reported.
The rapes first came to light last November when a report by the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, seen by Reuters, said that more than 650 people had suffered sexual violence during expulsions from Angola to Congo in the previous two months.
Tit-for-tat expulsions between Angola and Congo reached an estimated 211,000 people in 2009.