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Inter-Agency Delgation Evaluates FDLR Damage to Villages Congo 2009

Despite a respite in news coverage, the humanitarian situation in North Kivu continues to worsen. The FDLR have executed counter attacks crossing civilians in their paths.

The United Nations’ armed force in Congo, MONUC, escorted five UN agencies and three local non-governmental agencies including HEAL Africa to evaluate the humanitarian situation in South Lubero.  The delegation visited Luofu, Kirumba, Kayna and Kanyabayonga.

At Luofu, the team met with the local chief and his committee regarding the attack of FDLR (remnants of the ex-Army of Rwanda and militias involved in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 who have lived in Congo ever since) on April 17, around 9 PM.   According to the chief, 345 houses were burned: 255 at Luofu and 90 at Kasiki.  Nine persons were killed, of which 5 were children burned alive and the local chief of the National Police station.   The population is fearful and uneasy, spending the nights in the surrounding bush rather than in the remaining homes in the villages, as a leaflet has been circulated by the FDLR, threatening to return and kill the entire population.

This situation is identical to that in Kirumba, Kayna and Kanyabayonga.  No humanitarian assistance has yet been offered.  The population wonders if the territory of Lubero is not accessible to humanitarian organizations, that they could help as they do in the area around Rutshuru.  “We need help, both food and non-food items.  The FARDC and the Police need to be reinforced, and we need MONUC to keep us safe” say the leaders.  “May MONUC try to persuade the Rwandan government to hold inter-Rwandan dialogue,” in order to resolve the conflict between Hutu and Tutsi.

The hospital of Kayna is in dire need of medicines.  The medicines that HEAL Africa had already provided have been used up.  At Kanyabayonga, in addition to the houses and vehicles burned up the night of the 15th and 16th of April by the FDLR, it is evident that the indisciplined troops of the FARDC based there are a concern.  A grenade detonated by one of these caused the death of 5 people.

An urgent need for potable water in each of these communities was mentioned.  Water systems are needed rather than water trucks.

By Hortense MALIRO and Christophe BABUNGA