By Guy-Marin Kamandji
After about six months of a truce, fighting has resumed around the eastern Congolese city of Goma, in North Kivu. An offensive by M23 rebels started on Monday 20 May at dawn in Mutaho.
Eye-witnesses, speaking on Radio Okapi, said, “We heard heavy arms fire on the hills around our homes from about 4 in the morning. We left immediately without taking anything. It is under these conditions that we arrived at Mugunga… we were scattered. There are people who have not found their children.”
Caritas says it registered 132 families in Mugunga III camp on Monday from Mutaho.
“M23 troops resumed fighting in the early hours of Monday. These clashes have caused a panic among the population of several villages and many people have moved to a neighborhood in the north east of Goma,” said Caritas Goma.
“Our last information is that 3000 people have arrived at the St.Francis Xavier […]
By Guy-Marin Kamandji, Caritas Congo Musawu walks with a firm step, carrying 20 litres of water on her head with great agility. The water must be equivalent to about half the 10 year old girl’s weight. It’s Monday morning in Bukwa Mulumba, a town in Kasai Central in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Musawu still has to make the 2.5 km trip from her home to the water point and back two more times today. “When there is enough water at home, then my mother lets me go to school. Tomorrow I will be able to go to school,” she says. She is not the only one making the walk on the slippery slope. Mrs Kanyeba, a young woman, doesn’t have the 250 to 300 Congolese Francs (about 20 cents) to buy 20 litres of water in her village, so she must make the journey herself. “After four trips with 20 […]
By Taylor Toeka, Caritas Goma
Germain Muhindo comes top of his class almost always, yet a few months ago the eight year old first grader had never even seen a chalkboard. But he had seen war. He was forced into being a child soldier for three months in September 2012 by fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s ravaged east.
“We were working to the fields when we met the rebels,” said Germain. “They ordered my older brother, who is thirteen, to carry their bags. He refused so they hit him and made him do it. As there were only two of us, they made me come along too.”
Half a million people were driven from their homes in North Kivu last year and thousands of children were taken to be used as soldiers, cooks, messengers, porters or the girls as sex slaves by government and rebel forces.
“Every day I thought of […]
Read in French The end of a Caritas Goma project last December has meant that many patients suffering from severe mental disorders are completely vulnerable and left without care and support. The Mapendo health centre, 4 km from Rutshuru, is filled with busy men and women. Some look healthy, others who are accompanied by their brother, sister, father or mother look less so. In fact, they appear lost and helpless . All these people suffer from mental disorders and for years have been left behind. But in July 2012, thanks to an initiative by Luxembourg Pharmacists Without Borders, these particularly vulnerable people have finally received the support and care they deserve. Through this project, Caritas Goma was the only organisation to support and care for people with epilepsy and mental disorders and cater for them in this part of the Democratic Republic of Congo where health facilities are too often […]
An effort to repatriate Rwanda rebels currently in the Democratic Republic of Congo has ended in violence that’s forced thousands to flee.
250 rebels from Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) plus 500 of their dependents gave themselves up for repatriation to Congolese government troops and local militias in Walungu, South Kivu in eastern Congo on 2 January.
But the plan went wrong and ended in heavy fighting between the Rwandan rebels and the Congolese forces. Further fighting has ensued and the rebels have now escaped into the forest.
Over 5,800 families have been forced to flee because of the fighting. Caritas Bukavu is working in the area to provide emergency food rations for one or two weeks, thanks to funds received from Caritas members.
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By Taylor Toeka Kakala As a result of the fighting between the Congolese army and the rebels group M23 in the north of Goma, many displaced have sought refuge in the schools of Goma. “We wake up very early to leave the classes for the students to use,” said Beatrice Rukundo, a squatter of Ushindi primary school, in north of Goma. Beatrice, mother of seven, fled the camp of Kanyaruchinya last November during the fighting between the army and the M23 rebels over the control of town of Goma. “We are really hungry, and need help,” she said. To respond to the needs of many in her situation, the local diocesan Caritas, Caritas Goma, conducted a food distribution for 785 households registered in three schools north of Goma . Thanks to the funding from CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales), each family received 25 kg of maize flour, 5 kg of […]
The Catholic bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo are urging for an end to the conflict in the east of the country. They condemn rebel militia for seizing the city of Goma last month and the foreign powers who support them. They also urge their government and politicians to address the root causes of the war and the lack of governance, infrastructure and services in the East. The Church leaders are urging the international community to look again at the mandate for UN peacekeepers based in Eastern Congo, who took no action during the fall of Goma.
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Le pape Benoît XVI a lancé mercredi un vibrant appel au “dialogue” et à la “réconciliation” entre les parties en conflit dans l’est de la République démocratique du Congo, et à la communauté internationale pour “subvenir aux besoins des populations”. “Je renouvelle mon appel au dialogue et à la réconciliation”, a déclaré le Pape, lors de l’audience générale, soulignant le sort tragique de milliers d’habitants de la région du Kivu “contraints d’abandonner leurs maisons” ou qui sont “privés des biens de première nécessité”, après des “mois d’affrontements armés et de violences”. “Je demande à la communauté internationale de subvenir aux besoins de la population”, a-t-il ajouté. Cependant la situation dans la région du Nord Kivu ne semble pas s’améliorer pour beaucoup de déplacés dans les camps. Particulièrement inquiétant est le problème de protection des personnes vulnérables comme les femmes et les enfants.
″C’est juste mon corps, devenu insensible, qui était allongé là. Je ne pouvais plus sentir leurs mains, leurs peaux et leurs odeurs″, témoigne une jeune fille de 12 ans, violée au début de ce mois par quatre hommes armés au camp de Mugunga 3, à la périphérie ouest de Goma. Caritas Goma a enregistré, entre le 20 et le 30 novembre , dix-sept cas de viols perpétrés sur les femmes et jeunes filles déplacées du Mugunga 3. Selon les victimes, tous ces actes portent la signature de miliciens armés non-identifiés qui opèrent dans la région de Goma. “Je renouvelle mon appel au dialogue et à la réconciliation”, a déclaré le pape Benoît aujourd’hui lors de l’audience générale, soulignant le sort tragique de milliers d’habitants de la région du Kivu “contraints d’abandonner leurs maisons” ou qui sont “privés des biens de première nécessité”, après des “mois d’affrontements armés et de violences”. […]
Caritas is appealing for more than US $2.6 million to assist people caught up in the latest conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
M23 rebels seized Goma, the provincial capital of Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern North Kivu province on 20 November from government forces.
Recent clashes have forced more than 140,000 people to flee their homes and seek refuge in camps or makeshift accommodation.
Local Caritas staff in Goma are working in challenging conditions with transport to provide those displaced with food and other aid items.
“Unlike the electricity, we operate full time and all our Caritas team members are in the field working around the clock,” said Fr Oswald Musoni , Director of Caritas Goma. “We have done assessments and have now started food distribution, provided by WFP in the largest camp.
“The situation is still very fluid , people are not sure what will happen next, but all the schools, […]