from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE Humanitarian Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo has expressed concern about the new escalation of violence in the province of North Kivu.
Bruno Lemarquis’ worry comes after a bombing in a residential area on January 25 caused the death of 19 people and injured more than 20 others in Mweso.
“The humanitarian community is deeply disturbed by the serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in recent times, with fighting having cost the lives of many civilians, including women and children, notably in Mweso.”
Lemarquis reminded parties to the conflict of their duty to protect civilian populations.
The humanitarian consequences of the recent intensification of violence are denounced as alarming.
Around 8 000 internally displaced people have now sought shelter near Mweso hospital.
This raises the risk of a new tragedy if the fighting intensifies near this vital installation.
The Mweso health zone has more than 251 000 people, currently in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
“It is crucial to guarantee the safety of humanitarian workers and civilians in order to allow assistance to reach them and prevent a worsening of the humanitarian situation,” Lemarquis insisted.
The recent escalation of violence is a reminder of the suffering endured for years by civilian populations affected by the conflict in North Kivu.
More than 2,5 million people have been displaced and have limited access to basic services.
– CAJ News