Torture in the Congo: Permanent, Terrifying Impaction
By W.C.

June 26, 2006
When I view torture, I understand it in many different levels. The common form of torture that people not living in third world countries face is perhaps an extensive exhaustion on the body from work or school. They picture this form of abuse as torture where really people fail to realize the deeper and painstaking meaning of the word, the kind that rattles your insides and leaves you with deep traumatizing mental disturbance. The different kinds of torture such as mental, physical, and emotional torture weigh equally in having a deep impact on a person’s life. Torture, in every sense of the word is displayed constantly in Congo, Africa.

Recently, a dreadful massacre in eastern Congo was marked as the worst in two years. Rape, murder and unrest are no stranger to this devastated place. The newly elected Democratic Republic of Congo government has seen a continuation of violence years after the war. This violence has caused 18 civilians, where six were children, murdered horribly during a nighttime raid in Walungu on May 26. With this raid in mind, 29 people were severely wounded, and 12 others were kidnapped during this vicious attack. This traumatizing experience shows the true meaning of torture as many are unaware of the feeling. The feeling of losing loved ones in the most horrifying way with the thought of never seeing them again. This inhumane surge of murders has been blamed upon 12 men from the Rwandan Hutu rebel group known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda. For those who have been kidnapped, unthinkable forms of torture are being inflicted upon these poor souls. Some are raped constantly and beat so severely that their mindsets have suffered deep disturbance by finding it impossible to forget and replenish the mind of what it has suffered.

On one account, a young woman from a family who was attacked during the May 26 massacre suffered the loss of her twin sister and older brother along with experiencing the rush of fear when the rebels invaded the group of villages known as Kaniola. The young woman gave her feedback and withdrew her memories to relive exactly what happened that day to illustrate the torture she experienced. Let the powerful words of this young woman speak for it self.
"My name is Kahumba and I am 23 years old. The night of May 26 is a night I will never be able to forget. We were sleeping in our house when we heard a lot of commotion. People in the village were crying out "kandi rhwamafa," (a Mashi expression which means, "we die again." Mashi is the local language spoken in Kaniola). They shot and killed my elder brother immediately. It instantly brought back the memory of how they had killed my father last year. One of them grabbed my twin sister and raped her. Another one pulled me from under the bed where I was hiding. He stuffed a piece of cloth in my mouth and then raped me. When he was finished the third one also raped me, all the time saying to me, "If you make noise we kill you. Don't you see where your brother is lying on the floor? I asked him to have mercy on me, but he said, "If you say that again we will kill you too." After he finished, he pushed a bottle into my sex (vagina). It was too painful. When they were leaving to go back into the bush, they grabbed my twin sister. My mother pleaded with them to let her go. She said she would give them two goats and 6,500 Congolese francs ($13) if they released her. But they took the money and the goats—as well as my sister. My twin sister is still in the forest with our attackers. I don't know if she's alive or dead. I don't want to go back to home. Now when I dream, I only see people who come to kill me."
The devastation of the villages in Congo show how everyday more people familiarize themselves with the deep and impacting meaning of torture where overcoming what they have experienced is almost impossible. Torture truly defines itself in places like the Congo as Kahumba perfectly demonstrated the feeling.


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