AFRICA/DR CONGO - International community remains silent: further atrocities in North Kivu

Monday, 6 May 2024 war crimes   displaced persons  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - At least 16 people were killed and 30 injured in a bomb attack on May 3 in two displaced persons camps in Lac Vert and Mugunga, near Goma, capital of North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of the victims are women and children, according to a statement from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which has its own military mission in the area. The government in Kinshasa blames the M23 movement and the armed forces of neighboring Rwanda for the bombing of the two refugee camps. The situation in North Kivu remains dramatic. According to the Civil Society Coordination Office in Bukavu, there are around 7 million displaced people in the neighboring province of South Kivu. "Women and girls suffer sexual violence in the displaced persons camps, malnutrition of children, pregnant women and nursing mothers is increasing," it says. "What amazes people here is the guilty silence of the international community, which is more concerned about what is happening in... Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, as if the life of a Congolese does not count," the statement, sent to Fides, continues. "Despite its strategic location and its integration into various regional structures, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo appears to be completely overwhelmed by events," said the Civil Society Coordination Office. The civil society organization also points out that there were other serious violations of humanitarian law before the May 3 massacre. On April 29, the central market in Minova was bombed while the Red Cross was distributing food and medicine to displaced people; on the same day another bomb fell in Bushishi, three kilometers from Minova, near a water source; On April 30, a bomb fell on the house of the director of the hospital in Minova. In this town alone there are 69 shelters for displaced people," reminds the Bukavu Civil Society, "who fled the atrocities of the M23 in the Masisi area and are now doubly affected, even though they have already been displaced". According to the Civil Society Coordination Office, the M23's goal is "to suffocate the towns of Goma by cutting off all food supplies from South Kivu. For this reason, boats on Lake Kivu are also bombed." The Civil Society Coordination of Bukavu therefore calls on the UN Security Council to appoint the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes against the civilian population in the region and to impose an embargo on the sale of arms to Rwanda and Uganda, which are accused of supporting the M23. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 6/5/2024)