Women and girls have been flogged by militiamen in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for wearing short skirts or trousers, the government said on Saturday, vowing to punish the perpetrators.
Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde “condemned the degrading and inhuman abuses by the militiamen” from the armed Malaika group, according to a readout of a cabinet meeting published on Saturday.
Lukonde said the militia, who are imposing Islamic sharia punishments in the area under their control, had “recently flogged girls and women dressed in short skirts and trousers”.
A government delegation would be dispatched to the area — Salambila, in the eastern province of Maniema — and report back so the perpetrators could be punished, Lukonde said.
The Malaika militia, which claims to represent the interests of the local people, wants the government to hand over a bigger share of the revenue from the Salamabila gold mines.
It is one of several armed groups that operate freely in the volatile, mineral-rich east of the vast Central African country.