LUANDA  - Angolan security and immigration forces have raped and tortured migrants during deportations of hundreds of thousands of people to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Human Rights Watch said Monday. “Women and girls have been victims of sexual abuse including gang rape, and of sexual exploitation,” the group said in a report based on 211 interviews conducted since 2009. “Beatings, torture and degrading and inhumane treatment of migrants were common practices during roundups, transportation to detention facilities and in custody,” it said. Angola has deported around 400,000 illegal immigrants - most from the DRC - since 2003, according to UN data.

“Angola has a right to expel irregular migrants, but this does not justify denying them basic rights,” said Leslie Lefkow, the group’s deputy Africa director. “Torture, beatings and rape and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment violate both Angola’s law and international law.”

Angolan authorities have failed to investigate the allegations properly, the report said, after years of interviews in both nations’ capitals and along their shared border.

Scores of women spoke of sexual abuse at the hands of Angolan immigration and security officials, mostly in Condueji prison in the northern town of Dundo.