Members of the Burundian army have raped, abducted, arbitrarily detained and ill-treated Congolese civilians since their deployment to South Kivu, in the Democratic of Republic of Congo (DRC), in late to combat Burundian and Congolese armed groups. Members of the youth league of Burundi’s ruling party, the Imbonerakure, who fought with Burundian troops during the unofficial phase of the operation until mid-, and members of Burundian armed opposition groups based in the DRC have also raped Congolese women.
In the Burundi Human Rights Initiative’s report, “Hidden from view: sexual violence by Burundian troops in Congo’s South Kivu province”, Congolese victims and other witnesses describe how Burundian soldiers abducted and raped women and beat civilians whom they suspected of collaborating with Burundian armed groups. These actions breach international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes.
Some of the Burundian commanders responsible for the troops in the DRC, such as Ignace Sibomana and Ildephonse Baranyikwa, have been accused of serious human rights violations in Burundi in the past. The Burundian government has failed to hold them accountable.