At least 30 women were kept as prisoners in a dungeon-like structure and gang-raped over multiple weeks at the Congo and Angola border before being left in the bush without their clothes, an international aid agency said Tuesday.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement that more than 150 Congolese nationals arrived in the Bandundu Province in southwestern Congo after being expelled from neighboring Angola. Congolese frequently cross the border to work as laborers in the mining districts that line the boundary between the two nations in Central Africa.
OCHA spokeswoman Stefania Trassari said the men in the group were brutalized and at least 30 of the women were repeatedly raped when they were expelled from the country in the first half of October.
The deportees told the U.N. that they were held by Angolan authorities in a dingy building. At least three were killed, including two men and a 27-year-old woman who died after being raped repeatedly.
The deportees were expelled in October and were held for at least two weeks, Trassari said. "They described the place as a dungeon ... Our source said that afterward they were taken to the bush, and left by these people. They were abandoned without anything," she said.
Most of them were naked and were forced to walk into Congo without clothes, she said.
The scramble for mineral resources has led to forced expulsions in the past. The Congolese that cross the border are part of an informal economy and typically have no work papers.
In October last year, a wave of expulsions occurred and at least 18,000 Congolese nationals were abruptly sent packing.
Associated Press writers Artis Henderson and Rukmini Callimachi in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.