Over 30 civilians have been killed and more than 170,000 others displaced following fighting in various parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the last three days, according to a UN official.
According to Bintou Keita, the UN Representative to DR Congo, “at least 23 civilians were killed, including six children, while more than 170,000 persons have been displaced” since the beginning of this week.
“While some people have found refuge, thanks to the hospitality of host families, the communal shelters constructed by humanitarian partners have become over-populated, as well as the schools, stadia and the other collective spaces in which other displaced persons were housed,” she said.
Keita regretted the situation of children constrained to no longer go to school because of the M23 insurgency in the eastern DR Congo.
“I am particularly worried by the hindrance of children from going to school caused by this situation, which is just one of the examples of the way the resurgence of the M23 has affected the daily lives of the civilian population that has already suffered from persistent insecurity and the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo last year.”
Meanwhile, since Monday, June 27, 2022, violent conflicts have escalated in several localities within the Bashimunyaka south tribal group near Minembwe within the Fizi upper plateau of South Kivu.
The clashes have been between the Mai-Mai Bilozebishambuke and the Twigwaneho-gumino coalition.
According to military sources, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, several positions of the Bilozebishambuke led by Ngoma Nzito in Kivumu, Ibumba, and Kabingo were attacked by Twigwaneho-gumino led by Rukunda Makanika, a former colonel of the DR Congo army who deserted.
Lt. Meya Gbe Jeremie, the spokesperson of the 12th rapid reaction brigade in Minembwe, revealed that six persons were killed and fifteen others were wounded on the militia’s side.
“For now, the situation remains troubling and degrading following clashes between the Twigwaneho Makanika terrorist group and the Bilozebishambuke separatist group in different localities within the Basimunyaka south tribal group in Lulenge sector in Fizi territory including Kivumu, Ibumba and Kabingo,” he said.
At Kabingo, there has been so much collateral damage on both sides.
Four persons died, and ten others were wounded on the side of the Nguino Twirgwaneho Makanika coalition, the military spokesperson said.
The wounded have been taken to the Minembwe reference hospital, while two persons were killed and five others injured on the side of the Bilozebishambuka.
He revealed that on Tuesday, a convoy of the DR Congo national army, FARDC, heading to Bijombo, was intercepted by the Gumino militia, and one soldier was wounded.
“During a reconnaissance patrol towards Bijombo yesterday, our forces were intercepted about seven kilometres from our command base in Kamombo by the negative forces of Twirgwaneho Makanika, where one of our soldiers was lightly wounded by a bullet,” he said.
“Faced with this dangerously exclusive situation, the command of the 12th rapid reaction brigade has dispatched patrols within the interior to secure the zone to the profit of the peaceful civilian population.”
In a related development, armed persons identified as Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) militia on Tuesday, June 28, attacked Galay within the Banyali-Kilo sector in Djugu territory of Ituri province.
Civil society sources in Banyali-Kilo said one person was killed and two others seriously wounded during the attack.
“It is several months now since the militia have been occupying the locality of Andisa in the Mabilindey tribal group of Banyali-Kilo sector.”
“During their operations, they killed one person and seriously wounded another. However, the casualty figures are provisional because gunshots are still heard in the region,” said Basiloko Toko Jean-Robert, president of the Banyali-Kilo civil society.
Elie Gbalana Mandey, president of the Nyali community in Lodjo village, confirmed the information and condemned the attack in the Banyali-Kilo sector.
“We call on the Congolese government to shoulder its responsibilities to eliminate these militias who do not want peace to reign in Ituri province. We are asking why CODECO continues to kill peaceful populations while they have signed an agreement they are not respecting today,” Gbalana Mandey lamented.
CODECO, during an inter-communal dialogue held in Kpandroma at the beginning of this month, had declared its intention to stop hostilities throughout the province of Ituri unilaterally.
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