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12.04.2021

Security situation in North Kivu deteriorates again

Example street scene in in Butembo, DR Congo. (Photo: R. Buschmann / UEM)

On Easter Sunday, we received new news from Pastor Samuel Ngayihembako, leader of the Bapist Church CBCA in Goma, about the once again deteriorating security situation in Butembo and Beni in the province of North Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

For the past three years, UEM has continuously supported emergency relief efforts for the suffering parishioners of the Congolese UEM member church CBCA in Beni. Today, local newspapers and media agencies in the east of the country report that the security situation in the province of North Kivu has worsened once again.

Security and human rights situation as described by the local newspapers

Summarizing various local news in the East of the DRC, Rev Dr Ngayihembako Samuel, CBCA President, writes to the UEM and seeks prayers from the UEM international Communion: “Butembo and Beni regions deserve a special attention from the entire UEM international communion to kindly pray that killings taking place be stopped. This is unfortunately being committed in total silence of the international community”.

Armed groups continue to wreak havoc among the population in North Kivu, particularly in the territory of Beni. Today several villages are emptied of their population following the massacres committed by Suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia fighters, despite the strong presence of troops from the national army and the UN force. Sadly, thousands of people are internally displaced and live in total precariousness. It is also said that during this time, abandoned villages are occupied by unknown people. This seems to support the thesis of the territorial occupation plan behind the massacres against the Nande people (one of ethnic groups in the North Kivu, DRC).

The reactions of pressure groups

According to local news in the Eastern Congo, faced with the cruelty of atrocities and what is considered to be the passivity of the Congolese State and the international community, Civil Society Organizations have decreed a number of measures including:  The refusal to pay taxes, the closure of all economic activities for 10 days. Thus since Monday April 5th , 2021 all socioeconomic activities are at a standstill, schools are also closed in Butembo and Beni cities, as well as in their outskirts.

Human rights associations working in the territories of Beni and Lubero may have sent a correspondence to the Special Representative of the United Nations General Secretary in the DRC to denounce the passivity of MONUSCO (UN Forces) and thus requested the United Nations Forces to leave the East of the DRC. Many young people from citizen movements demonstrated publicly in front of the MONUSCO Office in Beni on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021 to express their anger.

The reactions of the DRC authorities and the UN mission

The DRC authorities in the province of North Kivu are calling upon people not to attack MONUSCO and the United Nations agencies. On his side, Mr Khassim Diagne, the Deputy Representative of the UN General Secretary, in charge of operations and protection in the DRC was heard on Radio Okapi saying: “it is necessary to pool together forces between the FARDC- DRC Armed Forces- and MONUSCO forces to be able to eradicate armed groups”. He also announced that MONUSCO has set up a special brigade (a rapid reaction force) which will work more effectively against threats from ADF-NALU.

Appeal

The current situation in the Beni and Butembo regions deserves a special attention from the entire international community in order to stop the genocide which is being committed in total silence. Every week, we learn that a great number of innocent people have been brutally killed.

“May all people of good will listen to the cries and tears of the thousands of women, children and men whose lives are crushed daily in a way that is beyond human understanding”, prays the CBCA as reported by the church President, Rev Dr Ngayihembako Samuel.

Rev Dr John Wesley Kabango, UEM Africa Executive Secretary.

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