UPDATE: August 2 2013, 11:56am
The spokesman for Nianga Mbouala, the Republican Guard Commandant, told France 24 the footage was being studied for authenticity as the event may have been staged. He confirmed that if the men in the video were indeed republican guards, they would be severely punished.
Mobile phone footage showing republican guards ordering five women to take off their clothes is causing outrage in Congo-Brazzaville. In a wooded area in the capital city, Brazzaville, the guards laughed at their victims throughout the ordeal. Our Observers say republican guards can operate with impunity.
Several interviews carried out by France 24 suggest the incident took place on July 23 in the Patte d’Oie Forest, an overgrown area and red-light district common with prostitutes from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. The forest is next to the Parliamentary Palace, where the Forbes Economic Forum on the emerging African middle class was taking place at the time.
Republican guards force five women in the Patte d'Oie forest in Brazzaville to take off their clothes.
The men are recognisable as members of the Republican Guard because of their traditional purple berets. One of the guards present during the incident filmed the incident using the camera on his mobile phone. Several times, a guard sitting in a car says: “Ma’am, take everything off now, and quickly!”
When the women are completely naked, the men ask: “Look at yourselves, aren’t you ashamed?” They then force them to wade into a thicket of stinging nettles. At the end of the video, the five women were allowed to get dressed and were told never to return to the forest.
The video was posted on YouTube and DailyMotion but it has since been censored by both video-sharing sites. France 24, which obtained the video, chose to show screenshots only.
The Republican Guard ordered the naked women to wade through a thicket of stinging nettles as punishment.
When contacted by France 24, the communications officer for the Congo-Brazzaville presidential office, André Ondélé, claimed that the office was not aware of this incident. France 24 has sent him the video and we will publish his comments if we receive a response.
The guards allowed the women to get dressed before ordering them leave.