Ituri Governor Says Suspension Of MSF Operations Will Expose DR Congo To Epidemics

MSF suspended activities in DR Congo after a recent attack on its workers in the country, which has remained uninvestigated. It was not the first of such attacks.

Lt.-Gen. Jonny Luboya, the military governor of Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of Congo has reacted to the suspension of operations by the humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Bambu and Nizi of Djugu territory. 

Governor Luboya said the decision of the MSF to leave the area would expose the people to more dangers, especially epidemics.

“This would amount to abandoning the vulnerable population at the mercy of epidemics and other severe pathologies which are rampant in the region,” he said.

Consistent attacks by the rebels of the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) —especially the attack on Oct. 28, 2021 against an MSF team between Kobu and Bambu localities during which some members of the team were wounded— forced the humanitarian organisation to quit the territory. 

But MSF said that they had called on the authorities to carry out an investigation into the attack that targeted their team but to date nothing has been done.

The organisation said the “risks are simply very high for us to return to these zones,” while noting that “for Nizi and Bambu, donations of medicines and materials are envisaged to aid health actors in covering the needs in the coming months.”

The military governor has been trying to reassure the humanitarian partners on the security dispositions taken in the Bambu region.

“Elements of loyalist force have been deployed in the zones where humanitarian interventions are taking place and they are protecting the workers,” he said.

“I call on our unavoidable partners to reverse their unilateral decision to quit the zones that were under their responsibility. Military operations are ongoing in the region of Djugu, thus the final objective consists of eliminating all armed active groups trying to replenish their medical and food supplies necessary for their survival.”

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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