Rebels Shut Down 18 Healthcare Facilities In Eastern DR Congo

Despite repeated promises and assurances from the DR Congo national army, FARDC, that lives are safe, rebels continue to attack health facilities in the troubled Ituri and North Kivu regions.

Eighteen healthcare facilities in Kamango, Beni territory of North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, have been closed down due to repeated attacks by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels.

According to local health authorities, the closure of the health structures exposes 138,878 civilians to serious health risks.

Officials of the Kamango health zone have called on the government to ensure special protection for health personnel and the health structures which constitute targets of rebels in the region.

Among the health facilities closed down is the Kamango reference hospital which is the largest health structure in the zone.

“The zone has 28 health structures and of this number, 18 have already been closed down,” said Josue Kitsamuli, the Kamango Medical Director.

“It has been almost one week since the Kamango reference hospital has been functioning but just three days ago, it was attacked, forcing us to close it.”

“I, as the chief medical officer of the zone and my team in the central bureau of the zone, have been obliged to leave the zone and take refuge in Uganda.”

The last attack on Kamango took place on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 resulting in the deaths of seven persons including an infant. 

The army has been trying to reassure the people of their safety while Capt. Anthony Mwalushayi, spokesperson of the army’s Operations Sokola 1, has indicated that security is being reinforced so that health facilities do not continue to remain the targets of the ADF rebels who have been in search of pharmaceutical products.

“We have reinforced security in areas where there are health facilities and other structures such as pharmacies because the health centres and pharmacies are victims of ADF attacks as the rebels are in search of pharmaceutical and other products to cure themselves,” Capt. Mwalushayi said.

“We also envisage entering into contact with doctors and nurses in order to secure them. Not only are materials victims of the rebels but the personnel also because the assailants have the tendency of kidnapping health professionals so that they use them in treating their wounded colleagues who are in the bushes.”

The DR Congo national army, FARDC has installed one health structure in Mukakati to help them take charge of soldiers and displaced persons in Watalinga chiefdom who have been finding it difficult to access health care services.

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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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