Congo rape toll rises to 50

Nairobi/Geneva: The number of women raped in an apparent revenge attack for the death of a Congolese soldier has risen to 50, according to the United Nations.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said more women had been identified as victims of a raping and looting spree that took place in the eastern town of Fizi on January 1.

UNOCHA said the soldiers descended on the city centre after one of their colleagues was killed.

Some eight soldiers, including a major, have been arrested in connection with the attack. However, an international rights body said that history shows such cases are rarely brought to a conclusion.

"The Fizi events are another telling example of the consequences of the virtual impunity the Congolese forces benefit from," Amnesty International said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The failure to hold the Congolese army to account when they fail to carry out their protection role or commit crimes themselves in turn encourages further violations."

Rape is a major problem in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which still suffers from instability seven years after the end of a war that sucked in the region and led to millions of deaths.

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