Bangui — SCORES of women in the Central African Republic (CAR) have been raped after a rebel group took them hostage as they performed daily chores in the bushes.
According to survivors, the group of women was kidnapped at different occasions in the northwestern Bossangoa while collecting water, washing clothes and tending to their crops.
Some women, including ten that have sought treatment at the local hospital, managed to escape but reported that they and others had been raped multiple times.
Soulemane Amoin, midwife of the Doctors Without Borders in charge at Bossangoa hospital, said a number victims had fresh knife wounds.
"It was horrible to witness. My heart goes out to them. Some were in total shock. Others were paralysed by fear or found it very hard to speak about the incident."
The latest rapes bring the total number of survivors of rape and sexual assault treated by Doctors Without Borders team at Bossangoa to 56 from September 2017.
This compares to the 13 treated from January to August 2017.
Paul Brockmann, Doctors Without Borders head of mission in CAR , said the latest attack highlighted the daily brutality experienced by local civilians, particularly women and children.
"We are shocked and saddened by this mass rape and concerned that many women are still in need of urgent medical care," Brockmann said.
It is believed many more victims of rape fear seeking treatment due to stigma, including the fear of exclusion from their community if identified as survivors.
The volatile CAR is suffering insurgency by rival Christian and Muslim extremists.