22 June 2009The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) called on the Government to take urgent measures to improve prison security and improve conditions for inmates, after several women were assaulted during an attempted escape from Goma’s central prison last night. According to a news release issued by the mission, known by its French acronym MONUC, none of the inmates escaped, but about 20 female inmates were raped and assaulted during the incident, which also resulted in the deaths of one policeman and one prisoner, and the wounding of 12 others. The mission strongly condemned the incident and called for ensuring that the perpetrators involved be held to account. The Congolese national police and the national armed forces (FARDC) have tightened security outside the prison, and members of the MONUC brigade in North Kivu conducted a security operation in the area, as well as night patrols.MONUC also called on the authorities to initiate prison reform to ensure conformity with internationally recognized standards in the treatment of detainees, including strict separation of men and women, among other things. It also voiced its readiness to assist in this regard.