23 Jan 2011

Army officer detained over Congo mass rape

7:19 am on 23 January 2011

An army officer arrested over the mass rape of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo says soldiers who've committed crimes did so against his orders.

Lieutenant Colonel Kibibi Mutware is accused of leading the rape of more than 50 women in the eastern town of Fizi on 1 January.

Col Kibibi has dismissed the allegations as rumours. He told the BBC that the soldiers who had committed crimes had disobeyed his orders.

There have been numerous cases of mass rape in eastern DR Congo, but this is believed to be the largest single incident allegedly involving the army, the BBC reports.

Military and humanitarian sources say the events over the New Year period began when a mob lynched a soldier who had shot a civilian - allegedly in a fight over a woman.

A group of soldiers then took revenge on the people of Fizi.