Authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo have arrested a provincial lawmaker accused of leading a militia that raped about 30 very young girls and murdered a German engineer and local rights activist, the justice minister says.
Repeated rapes of girls as young as 18 months near the village of Kavumu in eastern Congo's South Kivu province since 2013, have led to an international outcry and criticism of the Congolese government for its alleged inaction.
Alexis Thambwe told reporters that Frederic Batumike, a deputy from South Kivu province, and 74 members of his militia were arrested this week.
"The militia that works for him recruited a fetishist who advises the militiamen to rape very young girls to be assured of having a supernatural protection," Thambwe said.
Batumike is also accused of being behind the murders of Walter Muller, a German engineer working in Congo, and a Congolese human rights activist named Evariste Kasali.
Batumike could not be immediately reached for comment.