Indian troops save local woman from rape by Congo rebels

January 24th, 2011 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Battling a group of rebels in Walikale territory in embattled Congo, Indian peace-keepers serving under the UN flag saved a local woman from being raped allegedly by armed cadres of the Mai-Mai group. According to reports reaching here, the Indian battalion was on a joint patrol alongside the Forces Armees de la Republique Democraticque du Congo (FARDC) on Jan 11 this year when they were informed of the armed rebels moving in the area.

Officers in the Indian Army headquarters said the patrol party was passing through Kumbwa village when the villagers gave the tip-off on movement of the armed rebels.

“The patrol immediately took position and soon realised that the Mai-Mai cadres were trying to dishonour a local woman. The armed cadres, on noticing the UN peace-keepers, immediately responded by firing at the patrol, which was met with instantaneous retaliatory fire from the UN troopers,” the officers said.

The gun battle forced the rebels to abandon their attempt to outrage the woman’s modesty and they ran away into the thick undergrowth in the vicinity.

“The resultant pursuit helped in cleansing the area of armed cadres. The prompt action by the Indian Blue Helmets helped in protecting the young woman from the gross ignominy of rape,” the officers said.

The security situation in the Walikale territory in Congo being fragile, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) has intensified its presence through day and night patrols and interaction with government agencies and local population.

Meanwhile, the Indian peace-keepers assisted the locals in the city of Nyanzale in another part of Congo to repair a dilapidated culvert, a vital link for the villagers who used it for transporting their agricultural produce on carts.

A United Nations contingent’s military base at Nyanzale, manned by Indian battalion (19 Kumaon), stepped in to bring the locals to repair the culvert to join Nyanzale Marche with Nyanzale City.

While the Indian battalion provided construction material and expertise, the locals pitched in through physical work at the site.

“Working together through Christmas and New Year, the culvert was re-constructed in two weeks and was opened for public use on Jan 19 this year,” the officers said.

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