Kinshasa - The hospital of doctor Denis Mukwege, famed for helping rape victims in Democratic Republic of Congo, has accused the authorities of freezing its bank accounts in a "discriminatory" way.
Panzi hospital in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province, said in a statement Tuesday that the Congolese authorities had seized its accounts and it could no longer operate them.
The freeze had "a major impact on the functioning of the hospital", it said, including blocking the payment of December wages to 500 employees.
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"We ask for the authorities to stop these discriminatory measures," it added.
Founded by Mukwege in 1999, Panzi hospital specialises in treating survivors of violence in eastern DRC, where rivals fighting for control of vast mineral riches have used mass rape to terrorise the local population for decades.
Mukwege last month launched an impassioned appeal to his compatriots, saying that insecurity and bad governance were keeping their resource-rich African nation in deep poverty.
"Our country is sick but, together, with our friends around the world, we can and will heal," the 59-year-old said, as he received the European Parliament's Sakharov rights prize for helping thousands of gang rape victims.