From our Caritas member in England and Wales on the situation in Congo
By Taylor Toeka Kakala , Caritas Goma The sun begins to break as a long line of tired women and anxious men forms in front of the Caritas Goma food distribution point. In the middle of the line, Marceline Dusabimana, 36, a mother of six children, waits in turn to receive oil, maize flour, beans and salt. As most of the beneficiaries present, Marceline fled the fighting between the Congolese army and rebels of the M23 that started six months ago. “I have witnessed war for the past 15 years. I moved from one camp to another. We are completely dependent on humanitarian aid, because we lack the means to buy food,” she said. Caritas has started the distribution of food from the World Food Programme (WFP) for 9,983 displaced families in Mugunga camp. These initial distributions consist of a three-day ration. Conflict in North Kivu has exacerbated an already […]
This morning Caritas Goma Director Fr. Oswald Musoni gave us his reflections on the situation following the fall of the city to M23 rebels on 20 November. “The bombs and bullets were terrifying. I’m finally feeling better after three days and am back and at work,” he said. “Yesterday it was difficult to get around, but this morning the shops are open and the city has come back to life. The Caritas team headed out into the field trying to collect information on the number of people affected by the crisis. The situation is very fluid so we’re still being cautious.”
African Catholic Church leaders meeting in Kinshasa say that escalating violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo is causing a major humanitarian tragedy.
Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences and Bishop-Presidents of national Caritas organisations from 34 countries in Africa signed a statement condemning the conflict, which has seen the city of Goma fall to ‘M23’ rebels on 20 November.
The African bishops say, “We are outraged and shocked by the escalating armed violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo which is causing again a major human tragedy.
“Thousands of men, women and children, the victims of this war which is imposed on them, are displaced and abandoned in destitution in Goma and its surroundings. They are exposed to the bad weather, hunger, rape and all kinds of abuses, including recruiting of children into the army. This constitutes an offence to their dignity as human beings and children of God.”
Caritas staff […]
Caritas is expressing deep concern over the humanitarian situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo after rebels seized Goma, a city of over a million inhabitants.
‘M23’ rebel fighters took over the city 20 November, sparking an estimated 100,000 people to flee according to local caritas staff. Pockets of violence were reported in Goma and Bunia.
Caritas staff say that populations in Kasindi, Himbi and the relief camp in Kanyaruchinya have all fled to unknown destinations.
Goma was home to significant populations of people already displaced from their homes by earlier fighting between the rebels and government forces.
Caritas organisations working in eastern Congo have met to decide a coordinated humanitarian response trough the national confederation member Caritas Congo. Initially, this aid will go to people affected by the conflict in Goma, Bukavu and Butembo-Beni.
M23 rebels say they will continue the offensive. Caritas is making contingency plans for Bukavu.
Bishop Nicolas […]
“I came to the camp looking for safety from the rebels,” said Chantal, a 32 year old mother who is now living with her six children in Mugunga camp in North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
She reached the camp after travelling 60km from her home in Masisi. Her family escaped Masisi safely after it was attacked by ‘M23’ rebels. Jacques Mouhindo, another camp resident also from Massisi, wasn’t so lucky. His infant son was injured by a stray bullet while they fled, but thankfully survived.
Mugunga camp is home to about 27,000 people. It is just one of the 40 camps that dot this part of Congo. Over a quarter of a million people have been forced from their homes since the M23 rebellion began in April.
Chantal says life in the camp is difficult for her family. They’ve been there for six months. “I’m facing […]
“There is still crackling fire this morning,” says Caritas Goma Head of Emergencies Eddy Yamwenziyo. “But it’s very sporadic and is just shooting in the air.” Congolese ‘M23’ rebels entered Goma this morning according to Radio Okapi. Goma is a city of about a million people in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the border with Rwanda. “There is no electricity,” says Taylor Kakala, Caritas Goma’s Communication officer, speaking to us as the batteries run down on his cell phone. “I do not know how long my cell phone will last and when I can recharge it.”
Conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo is getting worse. Rebels called the ‘M23’ are only a couple of kilometers from the main regional city of Goma. Any attack would create a largescale humanitarian emergency as Goma has around one million residents. A Caritas staff member Eddy Yamwenzyio spoke to Valerie Kaye earlier by phone from Goma.
At 0800 this morning, says Caritas Goma emergency officer Eddy Yamwenzyio , the Mayor Mr. Kubuya announced on the radio that the schools will be closed and children should stay at home.
Meanwhile, the M23 rebels said that if the government failed to hold negotiations and withdraw troops from Goma then their military campaign would continue.
Eddy Yamwenzyio says that during the course of the morning “the government forces were clearly taking their position in town and they were visible in every roundabout in the city. By 14:00 the shooting began, and everybody who was out started to run for shelter. […]
En français:E x-combattants
The situation in the eastern Congo province of North Kivu continues to deteriorate since conflict resumed in March after hundreds of former rebels defected from the army to join a renegade general.
Keeping ex-rebels from returning to the bush is difficult. Poverty, lack of opportunities and lack of acceptance within their communities for their past lives, can lead the former fighters to pick up the gun once more.
Caritas Goma is the diocesan Caritas operating in the area. Part of its peacebuilding programme aims to give the ex-combatants a future . Caritas works with the local villagers and the former fighters to create employment opportunities for the latter and improve relations between the two groups.
Caritas organises the former fighters into groups of three plus one member of the community. Together they build small community projects. They also receive specialist training. The jobs range from motorcycle taxis to farming, working […]
Despite fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu between the government army and rebels, Caritas has been able to get food aid through to people in desperate need. Caritas Goma, the local diocesan arm of Caritas Congo, has provided food in Minova, Kalungu, Ntamugenga and Kitshanga to 37,000 people forced from their homes. No international relief had reached these areas since the outbreak of a two-month-old revolt in eastern Congo by the rebels who call themselves M23. The aid delivery began at the weekend in Minova with the support of CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales), Trócaire (Caritas Ireland), Secours Catholique (Caritas France) and Caritas Belgium. Caritas is trying to reach first pregnant women, new mothers and children under five with beans, maize flour, vegetable oil and salt to help supplement their diet. The latest fighting has forced more than 100,000 people from their homes. The spark for the […]
All week they come. The children arrive at the centre tired and breathless. They say they’ve been seized by fighters who want to use them as child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s renewed wars. “We were captured on the hill overlooking our school,” says one child, who has just arrived at a transit centre for former child soldiers in Masisi run by Caritas Goma in Eastern Congo. The child says his classmates were taken on their way to school by the Mai-Mai, one of the militias active in the fighting that has returned to Congo. “They forced us to follow them,” he said. “They told us that we had to defend our homeland against the aggressors.” The ones that come are between 10 and 17 years old. They say that since fighting started again between the government and rebels on 29 April various militias have been ‘recruiting’ children […]
“They come haggard, exhausted and desperate,” said Taylor Kakala, communications officer for Caritas Goma. “These men, women and children fled in panic, leaving with nothing.” They’re coming from the Masisi region in North Kivu, a troubled part of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to the safer towns of Sake and Goma. They’ve fled under machine gun fire, forced to run as rockets and mortars fell on their homes. “We were caught between automatic gunfire and heavy weapons of the government and the rebel fighters. We had to stay low to the ground in order to reach safety,” said Delphine, who escaped with her four children from Mushaki. They walked for 10 days and 40 km to reach Goma. Jerome is a community leader in the Mugunga relief camp. He said they had to take flight without warning. “The fighting began suddenly,” he said. “People were working in the fields. Children […]
“Karibu, welcome,” said Adèle. She and a dozen other women are hard at work in a field beside the Goma to Rutshuru Road in North Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Adèle is an agronomist and also heads three associations supported by a Caritas project to rehabilitate women war victims.
“We’ve planted peanut seeds and we’re in the process of taking out the weeds so they don’t overrun the place,” she said. “When Caritas launched the project, 60 women were involved. We were given peanut, bean and pea seeds. After the first harvests we bought some maize seeds. Look at what they’ve turned into. We have two hectares of fine maize that we’ll soon be able to harvest.”
Marie-José is one of the women who have benefited. “When I joined the association, I wasn’t in very good shape,” she said. “My husband had been killed and all our property had been […]
Caritas Congo rapporte des cas de violence dans le pays à la suite de la proclamation des résultats de l’élection présidentielle.
Suite à la proclamation de la victoire de Joseph Kabila à l’élection présidentielle, vendredi 9 décembre par la Commission électorale nationale indépendante (CENI), de nombreux cas de violences ont été rapportés à Caritas Congo par les diocèses du pays.
Ci-dessous, le lien vers le rapport publié sur le site de Caritas Congo.
le rapport de Caritas Congo
Dans le même temps, lors d’une conférence de presse organisée ce lundi 12 décembre 2011, le Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archevêque de Kinshasa a remis en cause les résultats provisoires annoncés par la CENI. Il indique que « l’Église est moralement tenue à offrir son aide à la justice pour établir la vérité des urnes là où ont été ses observateurs ». Le Cardinal insiste sur la nécessité de résoudre les contentieux par les voies légales et d’éviter toute forme de violence.
La déclaration intégrale du Cardinal