AFRICA/DR CONGO - Civil society’s appeal: "President, stop the massacres in the territories of Beni and Lubero"

Tuesday, 17 May 2016 massacres  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - 1,116 people have been killed savagely between October 2014 and May 2016 in the territories of Beni and Lubero (North Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo) by various armed groups, in particular the Rwandan FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) and those of Ugandan origin ADF/NALU (Allied Democratic Forces). This was denounced by representatives of local civil society in a letter to Congolese President Joseph Kabila.
It is an average of 60 people killed every month or two a day, says the document, the text of which was sent to Agenzia Fides. In addition to the dead, there are 1,470 people abducted of whom we have no news, while 34,297 families have been forcibly displaced or are dispersed. There are also numerous cases of sexual violence against women and children.
The material damaged amount to 1,750 homes burnt; 13 health centers burned; 27 schools destroyed or forcibly abandoned, occupied by displaced persons or by military or armed groups; several villages occupied by armed militiamen. In the territory of Lubero, the FDLR guerrillas "have claimed the power to levy taxes".
Violence is accompanied "by collective and suspicions movements of populations of the same ethnicity and language, of indeterminate origin, with the intention of land occupation and dismemberment of the Country" and "the systematic looting of assets and natural resources".
In recalling the responsibilities of the institutions of the Congolese State in ensuring the safety of all its inhabitants, representatives of civil society are asking, among other things, to prevent the regular soldiers to participate in trade and the exploitation of natural resources of the area; to replace military units born from the incorporation of former M23 rebels and other groups; to speed up the repatriation of FDLR rebels. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 17/05/2016)