PoliticsNews & AnalysisUganda-DRC: Gang-raped woman recounts horror


Posted on Thursday, 10 November 2011 15:03

Uganda-DRC: Gang-raped woman recounts horror

By Geof Magga

After watching her husband die and enduring the horror of being raped together with her 12 year old daughter by more than 10 Congolese militias, a woman now has the tough task of single-handedly raising six children in a refugee camp in Uganda.

 Hakiri and her children outside their house at the refugee camp

Zainab Hakiri (36) now lives with her six children in a small hut in Kyangwali Refugee Camp located in south western Uganda in Hoima District, 400 kilometres west of the country's capital, Kampala.

"As they raped me next to my husband's dead body, my 12 year old daughter was also being raped in the same room with the other children looking on," she said.

Hakiri speaks freely about her ordeal and when asked by an official from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, she said her children had witnessed her ordeal and there was no need to keep a veil of secrecy.

"The children saw what happened to me," she said. "They know it. I do not mind talking before them. I also do not mind being photographed."

However, UNHCR officials suggested that Hakiri's face, in any photos, be covered.

Hakiri's hair raising tale was revealed after a tour of the refugee camp by the Japanese ambassador to Uganda.

Japan is constructing a hospital and rehabilitating schools at the refugee camp.

They shot my husband dead before gang-raping me and my 12 year old daughter

She narrated how almost three years ago, while at their home in Bunya town, in Congo, Congolese rebels attacked them.

"They forced their way into our shop," Hakiri said. "They shot my husband dead before gang-raping me and my 12 year old daughter."

She said that her daughter got mentally disturbed and abandoned them as they moved to the Congolese border with Uganda the following day.

Hakiri said that after reaching the border and reporting to UNHCR they were sent to Kyangwali Camp in Uganda.

She said that after being gang raped she developed complications in her uterus and also developed fistula and uncontrolled urine.

"UNHCR helped me by sending me to Kasese Hospital, where I underwent an operation and my uterus was removed," she said.

A medical officer in the camp said that more than 20 women who were gang raped in Congo were now in Kyangwali Camp and were undergoing treatment.

UNHCRS spokesman Needa Jehu-Hoyah said that what matters most to Hakiri is to forget the past, and struggle to live with her children.

"What is important now is for her to live on with her children. She should forget the past and work for the future," she said.

Raping in the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially by armed militia, is very common. Acts that a number of human rights agencies have always condemned.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 15:58

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