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Congo: Rebels Bomb Displacement Camp, Three Dead, Thousands Flee

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Congo: Rebels Bomb Displacement Camp, Three Dead, Thousands Flee

Eastern Congo’s North Kivu province witnessed a grim escalation in violence as a group of rebels attacked a displacement camp, resulting in the tragic loss of three lives and leaving eight others wounded. 

The assault, which targeted the Zaina camp located approximately 16 miles from the city of Goma, was reported by a local civil society group on Tuesday. Wete Mwami Yenga, a prominent leader of the civil society, condemned the attack, highlighting the ongoing turmoil in the conflict-ridden region.

Although the rebel group responsible for the bombing, purportedly linked to neighbouring Rwanda, did not claim immediate responsibility, their presence in the area was palpable. 

Reports indicate that the M23 rebels, allegedly backed by Rwanda according to Congolese authorities and United Nations experts, seemed to be advancing toward the town of Sake, situated near Goma. 

Lawrence Kanyuka, a spokesperson for the M23, suggested that their actions aimed to “liberate” and “protect” civilians amidst clashes with Congolese security forces.

The aftermath of the attack has further exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the region. Thousands of individuals have fled their homes, seeking refuge in Goma, while hospitals struggle to cope with the influx of injured civilians. 

The Mercy Corps aid group raised alarms about the dire situation, noting that over one million people have been displaced since November, compounding an already staggering figure of 6.9 million displaced individuals in one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. 

Moreover, major routes around Goma have been severed due to gunfire and artillery, impeding the delivery of essential aid to affected communities.

Against this backdrop, expressions of frustration and outrage have surfaced, with hundreds protesting in the capital city of Kinshasa. Angered by the perceived lack of support from foreign embassies in ending the violence, demonstrators demanded action to address the crisis gripping the nation.

Responding to the unrest, the U.N.’s top official in Congo, Bintou Keita, condemned the protests as “unacceptable.” Meanwhile, concerns mount over the effectiveness of U.N. peacekeepers in the country, with reports of their gradual withdrawal ahead of a looming December deadline.

Amidst the chaos and suffering, voices from the heart of the conflict plead for peace and respite. Feza Bongongwa, a pregnant woman recovering from injuries sustained in recent attacks, echoed the sentiments of many as she urged for an end to the relentless warfare.

“The most important thing is to help us end this war,” Bongongwa implored. “M23 is making us suffer.”

 

Source: Africanews

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