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Who benefits from sexual violence in eastern Congo? Cui bono?

June 26, 2011

by Ann Garrison

This is the Reuters photo of Congolese rape victims in a refugee camp.
Alertnet posted this Médecins Sans Frontières and Reuters news, with this headline, photo and subheads, to their website on June 23, 2011:

About 100 women raped in Congo – MSF, radio

* Rape blamed on rebel soldiers

* Eastern Congo still unstable after war

“KINSHASA, June 23 (Reuters) – About 100 women have been sexually assaulted and many more injured in the latest mass rape by suspected rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, international aid workers and local media reported on Thursday.”

Same news report for over 10 years

So can we just stop and think about this a bit?

Congress, including President Obama when he was a senator, the U.N. Security Council, Hillary Clinton, John Prendergast and his ENOUGH Project, Lisa Shannon and her “Run for Congo Women!” Eve Ensler and her “V-Day” and many more have been talking about this for well over 10 years – with no end in sight.

I’m sure that some of these people are well-meaning. I’m sure that some have provided some real comfort on the ground. But let’s think about this just a little bit. Let’s think about “rape blamed on rebel soldiers, eastern Congo still unstable after war.” The world has been reading this report, the same report, over and over for well over 10 years.

‘Rebels’? Rebelling against whom, to what end?

Just who are these “rebels” supposed to be rebelling against? With what aim? Identifying the perpetrators as aimless and amorphous “rebels,” the indistinct label for most all gangsters a.k.a. armed profiteers and combatants paid by whomever for whatever in Congo, just creates a vague, insoluble, unending tragedy and benefits no one but the mega-NGOs who raise huge amounts of money to keep responding.

The definition of a “rebel” is always very close to that in “A person who rises in armed resistance against an established government or ruler.” So, whose government are these rebels rising in armed resistance against by raping Congolese women? That of Congolese President Joseph Kabila? Rwandan President Paul Kagame? Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni?

Cui bono?

Or are they furthering the aims of those heads of state by shattering communities in eastern Congo, driving people into refugee camps and thus separating them from the vast resources that corporations and government geostrategists of the major world powers – most of all the U.S., its allies and China – are so determined to control?

Even if the “rebels” are simply mineral smuggling gangsters or freelance terrorists serving mining companies and mineral smuggling syndicates, the effect is ultimately the same. They’re not rebelling against, i.e. trying to overthrow, a government. They’re terrorizing people. Not just women. People. They’re driving people from their homes and communities off of their land and away from their resources into refugee camps.

Cui bono, as any good legal reasoner or anyone who takes the time to consider the logic and consequence of all this would ask. Who benefits from all this tragedy and chaos, including mass rape, in eastern Congo?

Why so many years of the same vague news report?

Why so many years of the “rape blamed on rebel soldiers, eastern Congo still unstable” report? One answer is just lazy news reporting, but another is that more precise reporting and analysis would be too damning to Museveni’s Uganda and Kagame’s Rwanda, the USA’s most effective military proxies in Africa. Consider this section of the “U.N. Mapping Report on Human Rights Abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1993 – 2003,” regarding a Ugandan-Rwandan-Congolese battalion under the command of Gen. Kames Kabarebe, who has since become the Rwandan defense minister:

“329. On 4 August 1998, hundreds of Rwandan troops and a small number of Ugandan troops placed under the orders of James Kabarebe arrived by plane at the military base in Kitona, in Moanda, having travelled from Goma. Some ex-FAZ soldiers stationed at the Kitona base for several months rallied to join them. During the days that followed, the Rwandan-Ugandan-Congolese military coalition was reinforced by several thousand men and embarked on its conquest of the Bas-Congo via the road between Moanda, Boma and Matadi. Some elements in the FAC, which included numerous children associated with armed groups and forces (“child soldiers”) (known as “Kadogo” in Swahili) tried to resist, particularly in Boma and Mbanza Ngungu, but were swiftly overwhelmed; many died during the fighting.

“330. Throughout their advance on Kinshasa, the Rwandan-Ugandan-Congolese coalition, referred to in the remainder of the report using the acronym ANC/APR/UPDF, killed numerous civilians and committed a large number of rapes and acts of pillaging.” (“U.N. Mapping Report on Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1993-2003,” pages 164-165.)

AFRICOM Commander William “Kip” Ward, since retired, with Rwandan Defense Minister James Kabarebe during AFRICOM exercises in Kigali, Rwanda, in June 2010.
And then consider this picture of AFRICOM Commander William “Kip” Ward taken with Kabarebe during AFRICOM exercises in Kigali, Rwanda, in June 2010.

The tears that people, especially women all around the world, shed in response to these horrific rape stories are understandable. Any genuine effort to deliver comfort on the ground is, of course, laudable. But anyone who’s been reading the same “rape blamed on rebel soldiers, eastern Congo still unstable” story and the story of mass killing and millions of war dead in Congo for over 10 years should also be asking why.

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News, the Newsline EA (East Africa) and her own blog, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, Weekend News on KPFA and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at

15 thoughts on “Who benefits from sexual violence in eastern Congo? Cui bono?

  1. Ted

    Basically, the author seems to imply that it is the US and its Western allies who are to blame. This is, in fact, obvious, due to the fact that DRC is cursed with so many resources. Rwanda and Uganda also have their share, of course, but still the Westerners and the Chinese are the one who benefit most, whether you want it or not.

    1. DiaporicCongolese

      Paul Rusesabagina has outed PAUL KEGAME as one the main actors behind the killing of Habyarimana's which set of the mass killing in the first place.

    1. DiasporicCongolese

      AFRICANS should nor wait on God to do anything we have more access to information and need to organize and mobilize efforts to collect intelligence (information) about the situation as much as possible to draft strategies for a counter-attack through overt/covert campain with the intelligent use of SMART power.

      Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.

    1. DiaporicCongolese

      They (Zionist) control many multi-national companies across Africa including the DRC. They use TRAITORS to help them secure their monopoly and they also provide weapons.

  2. John Mulligan

    Or you could blame the rapists. Check out this Time Magazine article where 1 in 4 South African men admit to committing rape:,8599,190

    Tell me, does this language from the article sound at all familiar: "for an epidemic of young men who, in the absence of positive male role models, are now consumed by a sense of anger and entitlement."

    Rather than create some hidden motive theory, why not address the culture of rape in the African continent as a whole?

  3. DiasporicCongolese

    YOU ARE PRACTICING RACISM/WHITE SUPREMACY. The image of the African male as a sexual deviant and angry is not new in the Western World it has been written about for over 400 years as a way to demonize African men. Many African historians have looked into and concluded that the frequency of such acts are no different anywhere else in the world.

    As for the WARS rape is a military tactic widely discussed my military scientist it known as BARBARISM it is a strategy often employed during warfare where the women are considered prisoners of war and are SYSTEMATICALLY RAPED this goes back as far as biblical times (see the HADITH which states that in times of war women are considered prisoners and the male combatants do what they please and it was sanctioned by GOD) or one could refer to the SYSTEMIC RAPES done by the JAPANESE ARMY DURING WW2 or the NAZIS in CONCENTRATION CAMPS.

    In other words this is NOT UNPRECEDENTED!!!

  4. RwandaInfo English

    Former Rwandan first lady under fire
    A French court is deciding whether or not to extradite the former first lady of Rwanda, Agathe Habyarimana, on genocide charges. Senegal exploded this week with riots. People are fed up both with power cuts and their President. Finally; her name is Irma, she’s an up and coming star from Cameroon, and she's known as the ‘little lady of soul.’

  5. Peter

    For an indepth look at coltan and conflict minerals, see the book, Consuming the Congo: War and Conflict Minerals in the World's Deadliest Place.


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