UN: Sexual violence marks conflicts in Nigeria and Congo

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, left, addresses the Security Council meeting on peace and security in Africa, Thursday Aug. 10

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, second from right, listens during a Security Council meeting on peace and security in Africa,

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed says conflicts in Nigeria and Congo are marked by extremely high levels of sexual and gender-based violence — and both countries have "dismayingly low levels of women's political participation."

She told the U.N. Security Council Thursday that her most important message from a joint U.N.-African Union mission to the two countries from July 19-27 that focused on women in conflict is that greater investment is needed in women and girls "if we are to have sustainable peace and development."

Mohammed said sexual violence is widespread in Congo, where 3.8 million people have fled fighting.

In northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram is active, she said, "abductions, forced marriage and the use of women as suicide bombers have taken a terrible toll."