AFRICA/DR CONGO - Alert in South Kivu due to the presence of armed groups from Burundi

Monday, 5 September 2016 armed groups   refugees  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation in the Ruzizi plain and its highlands in the province of South Kivu, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, continues to deteriorate. The situation is so grim that it now resembles that of North-Kivu Province", denounces a statement sent to Agenzia Fides by ACMEJ/DH, local humanitarian organization.
The statement says that in recent days several road robberies have occurred at the hands of people who spoke Burundian (Kirundi) and Swahili, arousing concern among the local population, which threatens to turn into anger towards Burundian refugees. The latter have arrived in the area since April 2015 to escape the tensions and violence caused by the re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza.
So far, according to ACMEJ/DH, there are good relations between the local population and refugees: "Some of the refugees were welcomed by Congolese families, others rent houses with their own money. Again, there is real solidarity among Congolese and Burundian refugees".
ACMEJ/DH stresses that the infiltration of Burundian armed groups in the area has nothing to do with the presence of refugees, in fact, they are likely to become "the innocent victims of this situation". The human rights organization calls on the local authorities and MONUSCO (UN Mission in the DRC) to strengthen security in the Ruzizi plain to prevent further violence. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/09/2016)