UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Mass rapes that occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the summer may have been carried out by government troops, a U.N. official said.
The U.N. Security Council was called on to consider targeted sanctions against the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FLDR, and the Congolese Mai Mai militia for their role in the rapes of hundreds of women in the region.
Margot Wallstrom, the U.N. special envoy for sexual violence and conflict, told members of the U.N. Security Council that members of the Congolese military may have been involved in the atrocities.
"There is already some information from (U.N. peacekeepers) on the ground that rapes, killings and lootings have been perpetrated by (government) soldiers," she was quoted by the United Nations' news service as saying.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the area deflected criticism that it ignored warnings that surfaced days before the rapes occurred some 20 miles from their base. Wallstrom said the peacekeeping mission was "over-stretched" and "demoralized" by the level of atrocities committed in the region.
"The possibility that the same communities who were brutalized in July and August by FLDR and Mai Mai elements are now also suffering exactions at the hands of (government) troops is unimaginable and unacceptable," she added.
The Security Council has called on the Congolese government to make "swift and fair" efforts to bring the perpetrators of the rapes to justice.
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