WALTER JAMES

Walter James (SOS Femme en Danger – SOSFED): Walter graduated in 2006 from the University of Minnesota. Following college, he worked on international development in Haiti and Senegal, and studied human rights and international development in Senegal, Costa Rica, and Morocco. Walter first visited Eastern Congo as a 2009 Peace Fellow for The Advocacy Project, where he documented the work of civil society organizations such as SOS Femmes en Danger, Arche d’Alliance, and Tunza Mazingira. The following year, he graduated from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy with a Master’s degree in Public Policy.



Nyakiele Pt. II

15 Jul

Last month I reported on an attack on the village of Nyakiele by soldiers loyal to the ex-PARECO deserter Col. Kifaru.  Here are more details about the incident:

The official count of women that were raped in this incident stands at 163, from the three villages of Nyakiele, Kanguli, and Abala, north of Fizi Centre.  Numerous groups, from Arche d’Alliance to CCAP to MSF, have arrived to provide assistance to survivors.  However, according to some of my sources who have made several visits to Nyakiele since the incident, the humanitarian situation in the Nyakiele-Kanguli-Abala area is generally appalling and will require a lot more than just emergency aid.

Arche d’Alliance has reported that 72 households in the tri-village area have been “broken” due to the mass rape.  That is to say, the survivor in the family has been ostracized by her husband and banned from the marriage bed and possibly the household itself.  This demonstrates the far-reaching social consequences of sexual violence in the Congo.  At the moment, a team from CCAP is present in the area working on family mediation and reconciliation.

On July 7th, Col. Kifaru and around 200 of his troops arrived at the bracage center in Luberizi (in the Ruzizi Plain, in Uvira Territory) and have been there ever since.  They have refused to give up their arms, and so far no action has been taken against them.  According to a source very close to the investigation, the Congolese government has no interest in arresting or prosecuting Col. Kifaru, as they think it will mean an end to credibility of the bracage process and reconciliation with rebel groups.  In what is possibly part of a strategy to discredit the survivors, word is floating around the Congolese government that the mass rape incident in/around Nyakiele was either grossly exaggerated or invented entirely by aid groups and NGOs in order to get more funding.

And so, Quo Vadis, Domine?

Children in field near Mboko

Children in field near Mboko

Posted By WALTER JAMES

Posted Jul 15th, 2011

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