Dr. Denis Mukwege, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), blasted the sexual violence committed by M23 terrorists against Congolese women. Mukwege said the Congolese people' dream of peace' for their country amid the hardships they experience.

Congolese Women's Horrific Plight

Dr. Mukwege told the Vatican News that Congolese women are raped daily by M23 guerillas, who have 'weaponized' sexual assault to subdue the local population. He also blasted Rwanda's crime participation, saying the Rwandan government is aiding the rebels.

"Congo is being attacked; Congo has been invaded, and today it is occupied by Rwandan foreign forces associated with the M23 terrorists," Vatican News quoted Mukwege saying.

He added that M23 rebels now have better arms than the UN Mission to DRC, which he suspects "come from somewhere." Mukwege added that those complicit in arming the insurgents must be sanctioned.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate revealed that the guerillas target local women to sow terror and essentially exterminate the local population since rape makes some victims sterile.

Mukwege had set up shop at Panzi Hospital with his team to perform reconstructive surgeries on women's genitals damaged during the sexual assault.

Vatican News said Mukwege and his team of volunteers have operated on roughly 80,000 Congolese women to give them a chance at a new life. The news outlet bared that the team completes as many as 10 operations over an average of 18 hours daily.

Aside from reconstructing the victims' genitalia, volunteers also teach women and their children how to weave, sew, and do other jobs that would help make them self-sufficient.

The news outlet bared that Dr. Mukwege had faced tremendous obstacles in his quest to help the victims, including death threats and getting her daughters kidnapped by the rebels. Fortunately, the facilities where Mukwege's Panzi Foundation stands receive protection from the UN's Monusco mission.

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Congolese's Anticipation of Pope's Visit

According to the news outlet, the Congolese people are awaiting Pope Francis's scheduled January visit. The news agency said the pope was initially forced to forego the trip because of his medical condition.

Mukwege explained that the Congolese "await this visit with great impatience," saying they firmly think the pope's presence in the country will allow them to "turn the page."

He added that Francis's visit could also highlight the atrocities committed against his people. Mukwege said they are optimistic the pope's trip could force the international community to "finally take the necessary measures to stop these atrocities, which are a disgrace to our humanity."

Moreover, Mukwege explained that the different Congolese tribes could easily reconcile, which only became an issue following the 1994 Rwandan genocide

"Even today, more than 25 years later, the Congolese are still paying for a regional crisis that did not originate in Congo, but which today does much more damage in Congo than in the country where the genocide took place," Mukwege told the Vatican News.

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