KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The return of a renowned physician to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo shows the severity of sexual violence in the region, the United Nations said.
Roger Meece, the U.N. special envoy for the Democratic Republic of Congo, hailed the return to eastern DRC of Denis Mukwege, a chief medical doctor known for his work with victims of violence as a weapon of war.
"Mukwege's courageous decision to return after he was attacked at his residence on Oct. 25 demonstrates his infallible commitment and dedication to the several cases of sexually-abused women reported daily in the province," said Meece in a statement. He added that Mukwege's return should bring sexual violence to the forefront of the debate over DRC security.
Meece added that peacekeepers had worked with national and local security forces from South Kivu province to ensure the doctor's safe return.
Conflict along the border separating DRC from Rwanda intensified last year when fighters from the March 23 movement mutinied, complaining Kinshasha wasn't honoring the terms of an early truce with rebel forces.
M23 occupied Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu, briefly last year before pulling back. The U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC, known by its French initials MONUSCO, said it has close to 11,000 troops deployed to North Kivu and South Kivu provinces to monitor the situation.