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U.N. puts DRC military on notice for rape

UNITED NATIONS, March 11 (UPI) — The United Nations said it has put parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo military on notice over allegations of widespread rape.

More than 120 incidents of sexual violence were reported in December as Congolese forces fled ahead of the attack on Goma by the rebel March 23 Movement. A U.N. investigation said units within the military were suspected of using rape as a weapon of war in the fighting.

A U.N. official told the BBC on condition of anonymity that the global body would stop working with the DRC military unless it took action on the allegations by the end of the month.

“Since nothing sufficient has happened at this stage we have already put two units of the armed forces of Congo on notice that if they do not act promptly we shall cease supporting them,” the official said. “They have to shape up.”

Peace deals brokered between the DRC and members of the African community were meant to ensure the country returns to the path of peace. M23 rebels waged mutiny last year, accusing the government on reneging on early peace deals.

Last week, Moustapha Soumare, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for DRC, said he was “very concerned” about growing ethnic tensions and arbitrary arrests tied to reports of renewed violence.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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