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DRC Crisis Hits Women the Most

More than 670 women, or 48 new victims per day, have been treated for sexual violence in displacement camps in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the last two weeks, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Tuesday. About 600,000 people are sheltering in the camps near Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, after fleeing rebel conflict in their home towns in the surrounding region. Most of the victims reported being assaulted when they left the camps to get food or wood, MSF said. In three sites – Rusayo, Bulengo and Kanyaruchinya – more than half the victims said they were assaulted by armed men, MSF said, without giving further details. Rape has been widely documented as a weapon of war used by armed groups in eastern Congo, where dozens of militias are active. Conflict has simmered and periodically flared up since the end of two regional wars between 1996 and 2003. Most of the recent displacement in North Kivu province has been caused by fighting between the Congolese army and the M23, an ethnic Tutsi-led rebel group.