AFRICA/DR CONGO - A new rebellion is about to break out in South Kivu, according to local human rights activists

Tuesday, 15 February 2022 armed groups   violence   human rights  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - A new rebellion is emerging in the plain of Ruzizi, in the province of South-Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was reported in a note sent to Fides by the local NGO ACMEJ, which denounces how the work of local activists for the defense of human and social rights is in danger due to national and foreign armed groups.
"Access to the villages of the Ruzizi/Uvira, Fizi and Mwenga plains requires careful planning to avoid ambushes", the statement said. "In all these towns there is talk of the birth of a new rebellion aimed at putting into practice the balkanization project of the east of the DRC; some members of the communities would agree with this unhealthy initiative", denounces ACMEJ. The climate that has been created in the area "makes it difficult for human rights defenders to collect data: we do not know who to contact or ask for information". To understand these latest events, we must remember that, for more than two decades, the Ruzizi plain has been the scene of conflicts and violence. In its day, the dynamics of the conflicts were mainly linked to the contestation of customary power, which often took the form of inter-communal conflict. Armed groups then mobilized to ensure the protection of their communities, albeit often at the urging of political and military entrepreneurs pursuing personal objectives. Currently, the violence is mainly linked to the income-generating strategies of armed groups, which include armed robbery, theft, murder, kidnapping for ransom, and cattle raiding. In all of this, ACMEJ affirms, "domestic and foreign armed groups and Burundi's regular army have colluded with its Imbonerakure militia". The three eastern provinces of the DRC (North and South Kivu and Ituri) have been living in insecurity for decades. The Congolese National Episcopal Conference (CENCO) has recently expressed its closeness to the population of the diocese of Bunia, in Ituri, which has been the victim of a series of recent attacks. In a statement issued on February 9, the bishops condemned the violence and expressed "compassion and fraternal and spiritual closeness, assuring the people of our prayers in the face of this dramatic situation". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 15/2/2022)