_71233942_minova-rape-trial39 government soldiers are now on trial for alleged war crimes in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Several army members have been accused and charged with mass rape and other acts of sexual violence with more than 130 women and girls that occurred in the market town of Minova in November 2012.

The trial comes after months of pressure from international organizations and the UN to bring justice to light on the issue. The soldiers, most of them low-ranking, have been charged for murder, rape and looting.

According to a UN report, at least 102 women and 33 girls were victims of sexual violence and rape by government troops. Lead lawyer for the plaintiffs Sylvestre Bisimwa says the numbers are actually low. According ot him, more than 1,014 men and women have been identified as victims. He also added that many of the victims claimed that the men on trial were not their alleged rapists.

Back in April, some soldiers anonymously admitted to BBC that they had indeed raped women in Minova. They claimed that they had acted under military orders.

The UN has threatened to discontinue aid to army units that have been suspected of such abuse. Some African soldiers are known to use rape as a war weapon.

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