Self-proclaimed Lieutenant Colonel Mayele was arrested by the United Nations (UN) mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for his leadership of an armed group that allegedly raped up to 500 people in late July. Mayele was taken into custody yesterday in a military operation carried out by the Congolese military and the UN Mission for the Stabilization of the DR Congo.
The arrest was welcomed by UN Special Representative Margot Wallstrom, the top UN official dealing with sexual violence and armed conflict,reports United Nations Radio. Wallstrom arrived in the DRC last Tuesday to investigate the mass rape of civilians that occurred in late July and early August of this year. While in the DRC, Ms. Wallstrom has met with UN agencies and Congolese officials to develop a a strategy to reduce sexual violence.
Al Jazeera reports that the use of rape by groups of fighters in eastern Congo to intimidate and control the population has been increasing, especially in the mining areas. Wallstrom told Al Jazeera that Mayele’s arrest “should send out a signal that sexual violence will not go unpunished.”