Congolese refugees enduring a vicious cycle


DRC army neutralises M23 rebels. File photo by Junior D. Kannah/AFP/Getty Images)

from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
DRC Bureau
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE killing of seven people at a site housing internally displaced people in the northeast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a case of out of the frying pan into the fire.

At least four other displaced people were reportedly injured and several homes burned down when armed men attacked the refugee site in the locality of Bule, 75 km north of Bunia, the capital of Ituri province, on Thursday

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported this is the second attack on this site in less than a year.

More tragically, last February, at least 58 people, including a dozen children, were killed during an armed incursion into this site, also known as Plaine Savo.

Following the latest attack, several thousand families have left the site in fear of more raids.

Meanwhile, for several weeks, armed groups have been wreaking havoc in Djugu, the other territory of Ituri.

On January 8, armed groups killed at least 17 people and looted a health facility in Drodro health zone.

On January 13, at least 31 people were killed in Nyamamba and Mbogi villages in the Tchomia health zone.

Civil society estimates that at least 91 people have been killed since the beginning of the year in Ituri.

The victims of the terror live in poor conditions and, as the attack on Thursday indicates, under threat of the same militants they fled their homes from.

“On the spot, the displaced people live in very precarious conditions,” said a humanitarian spokesperson.

“They have urgent needs including food, shelter, non-food items, water, hygiene and sanitation as well as protection.”

Militancy is a major threat to elections scheduled for the end of the year.

As has previous governments, the administration of current president, Felix Tshisekedi, has struggled to end the rampage by rebel groups in the former Zaire.

– CAJ News


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