One week after suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) movement attacked Masambo town in the Ruwenzori sector of Beni territory in North Kivu, DR Congo, leaving 32 persons dead including a soldier and five women, more than half of the population of the town have fled to seek refuge elsewhere, HumAngle can report.
Masambo locality was attacked on the night of Sunday April 3 to Monday April 4.
The corpses of the victims, most of whom were killed by machetes, were discovered in Masambo centre and in the hilly villages neighbouring the locality.
During the attack on the town that had a population of over 19,000 residents, business places were also razed while shops were looted.
Jean-Baptiste Muhasa, a resident who is among the less than 40 per cent of the population still brave enough to remain in the town after the attack, said he’s trying to rebuild his house that was burnt down during the attack
“I am trying to gather the few roofing sheets still usable so I can build a small shelter here for myself and my family,” Muhasa said.
HumAngle learnt that some residents of Masambo who dare to return to the town during the day avoid passing the night there for fear of being the targets of another attack.
“We have decided to come to the town during the day but in the night, we find refuge in the forest,” Alphonse Kambale, a resident said.
But those who fled the town live in the open and are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Masika Mudembi, a mother of 11 children who has found refuge in Lubiriha, near the Uganda border, where they live in the open air, is forced to return to Masambo in search of what to feed her children with.
“I have come to search for some plantains for my 11 children whom I took to Lubiriha after the attack. They are dying of hunger so I have come back here to search for food for them,” she said.
Military presence has been reinforced in the town after the attack and the few youths who remained there have been collaborating with the DR Congo army, FARDC, to prevent new attacks and killings, Falcon Kasereka, chief of the locality revealed.
“Our civilians have been transformed into trackers who point out ADF hideouts to FARDC soldiers accompanied by our partners of the Ugandan army also supported by the MONUSCO (United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in DR Congo) to eradicate the ADF phenomenon in my jurisdiction of Masambo.”
But despite the reinforced military presence, the population of Masambo is hesitant to return to the town. While waiting for the return of security, they have been living in dispersed localities hoping to see their lives return to normal within the shortest possible time.
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