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ImageMore than 400,000 women raped in Congo each year

Democratic Republic of Congo, still reeling from a 1998 2003 war and accompanying humanitarian disaster that killed 5.4 million people, came second mainly due to staggering levels of sexual violence in the lawless east, the report stated.

More than 400,000 women are raped in Congo each year, according to a recent study by US researchers. The United Nations has called Congo 'the ra*e capital of the world.'

"Statistics from DRC are very revealing on this: ongoing war, use of ra*e as a weapon, recruitment of females as soldiers who are also used as sex slaves," said Clementina Cantoni, a Pakistan-based aid worker with ECHO, the European Commission's humanitarian aid department.

"The fact that the government is corrupt and that female rights are very low on the agenda means that there is little or no recourse to justice."

Rights activists say militia groups and soldiers target all ages, including girls as young as three and elderly women. They are gang-raped, raped with bayonets and have guns shot into their vaginas, the report pointed out.

Image: Rights activists say militia groups and soldiers in Congo target all ages, including girls as young as three and elderly women
Photographs: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters
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