AFRICA/D.R. CONGO - The "nameless war" between Banyindu and Banyamulenge has already caused hundreds of deaths

Tuesday, 21 May 2019 armed groups   violence   displaced persons  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - A creeping conflict, far from the eyes of the international media, is underway in South Kivu in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. From May 9th, armed groups formed by the Banyindu and Banyamulenge communities face each other in the Mikalati region (Fizi Territory), in particular in the Kamombo area. According to news sent to Agenzia Fides from missionary sources citing a local body for the defense of human rights, CEADHO (Center for Education, Animation and Defense of Human Rights), the war has already caused hundreds of victims mostly women and children.
According to CEADHO the conflict was triggered by the killing of a traditional Banyindu chief following torture inflicted by the Gumino armed group composed of Banyamulenge. A Banyindu militia wanted to avenge his death by triggering a spiral of reprisals and revenge that devastated the two communities
CEADHO denounces "several cases of sexual violence and abuse, harassment and threats against local human rights defenders, brutally burned villages, severely devastated fields", to the extent that "an unprecedented humanitarian disaster" is underway in the area.
The humanitarian situation is pitiful: internally displaced people have no shelter, food, water, toilets and protection and are completely without assistance. CEADHO appeals to international NGOs to urgently send aid and humanitarian personnel to help displaced people.
The Congolese Armed Forces, present in the area, have asked for the help of MONUSCO (UN Mission in the DRC) to re-establish minimum security conditions and to convince the representatives of the two communities to establish dialogue. Unfortunately at the moment Banyindu and Banyamulenge remain firm on their positions and do not seem to want to sit down at a table to end the conflict. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 21/5/2019))