DRC: Violence and Fear Reign in North Kivu Province

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According to local sources, the rebels looted the Kanyabayonga reference health center, from which they took a large quantity of medicines, laboratory equipment, computers, mattresses and other valuables.

On Wednesday, official sources stated that violence and fear are gripping North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today, as rebel groups occupy towns and lynchings are motivated by rumors.

Related:
Rebel Attacks in Congo Increase to 60

After the March 23 Movement (M23) took control of the towns of Kanyabayonga, Kirumba and Kayina, as well as other communes, not only did the number of displaced people increase, but also the fear of retaliatory actions by the insurgents.

In Lubero territory, civil society actors and members of youth organizations remain in hiding, because as people who have denounced the atrocities of the M23, they are afraid of becoming targets of these armed men, the Lubero civil society rapporteur, Hilaire Kamabu, denounced to Radio Okapi.

According to local sources, the rebels looted the Kanyabayonga reference health center, from which they took a large quantity of medicines, laboratory equipment, computers, mattresses and other valuables.

Escalating violence in North Kivu, #DRCongo, is worrying. Displacement is surging and humanitarians are at risk.

???? In 4 days, over 150K people were displaced in Lubero territory
???? An attack on a humanitarian operation killed 2 aid workers.

More from @UN_Lemarquis ⤵️

— UN Humanitarian (@UNOCHA) July 3, 2024

This was the only health structure that received patients from this rural commune and outlying localities.

The situation of insecurity has generated numerous rumors and false news, resulting in violent actions with a death toll of 15 people in the last two weeks in the regions of Butembo and Lubero.

Under accusations of leaving the front lines, or of collaborating with the M23 or the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), citizens lynched soldiers of the DRC Armed Forces and even vandalized a hotel, although this was later proven to be an unfounded rumor. Other people were also killed by similar acts, including two aid workers on 1 July.

The head of strategic communication and public information for the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (Monusco) in the Beni region, Jean-Tobie Okala, stressed the need to check the facts before reacting.

“We invite the youth, the whole population, to be very careful with the information we receive,” he said, adding that the war is already doing a lot of damage to the region and the country, so we cannot allow ourselves to start killing each other based on rumors and false information.

Since 27 June, increased violence in Lubero territory has increased population displacement, raising humanitarian needs in North Kivu province, which already hosts a total of 2.8 million refugees.

This is compounded by fear of the ADF, whose attacks in June killed some 200 people.

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