Kinshasa — SOME 16 soldiers are among 164 culprits arrested and prosecuted for the rape as well as gender-based violence against at least 164 civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this year.
The figures are for the South Kivu Province, which is among regions worst affected by conflict over the past two decades.
The Congolese National Police disclosed the statistics to the Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict as she concluded her tour of eastern DRC.
Pramila Patten, the envoy, has completed the tour, which took her to Bukavu, and Goma, which are the capital cities of the South and North Kivu Provinces respectively.
She expressed encouragement at the commitment of the Congolese authorities in the two provinces in the fight against sexual violence.
Patten was encouraged by the handling cases of sexual violence involving uniformed personnel.
"Sexual violence is still a painful reality of conflict," the UN envoy stated.
"Despite the efforts already made, the path in this struggle remains very long."
During her fact-finding mission, Patten led a delegation to two hospital centers committed to the care of victims of torture and sexual violence.
DRC, one of Africa's biggest countries by area and population (86 million people) is best by a multiple conflicts.
Outbreaks of deadly diseases are complicating matters.