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Women's group urges protection for doctor

06 November 2012, 12:57

Bukavu - A women's group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo urged authorities on Monday to guarantee the safety of a doctor who founded a rape victims’ clinic but fled the country after an attempt on his life.

Denis Mukwege, an award-winning gynaecologist, narrowly escaped being killed along with two of his daughters on 25 October after armed men broke into his home in Bukavu.

The assailants killed an employee who intervened, giving the doctor and his family time to flee.

"We call on the authorities ... and all those involved in the cause of women to guarantee his (Mukwege's) security so that he can return to Sud-Kivu (province) and continue to care for women," said Agnes Sadiki, head of the Women of Sud-Kivu Caucus for Peace.

"If it were just up to us women, Doctor Mukwege would not leave, because after his departure, what will become of the many women who have benefitted from his medical assistance?" Sadiki asked.

Mukwege took his traumatised daughters to Stockholm, where he vowed to return to DR Congo and criticised the government of Kinshasa and its neighbours for failing to stop the violence.

Mukwege founded the Panzi hospital and foundation in Bukavu to help the thousands of women who have been raped in the strife-torn east of the DR Congo by members of local and foreign armed groups, as well as by army soldiers.

The hospital's main programme for the victims of sexual violence treats around 3 000 women every year.

Women and children have frequently been caught up in the unrest pitting government forces against several militia groups.

- SAPA

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