Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Photos Facebook Twitter Friends Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
Aid Group Calls for Urgent Response to DRC Crisis

VOA News - October 15, 2009
Joseph Kony

Medical aid group Doctors Without Borders, better known by its French acronym MSF, says that the humanitarian response to the crisis in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo must be urgently stepped up. The group says hundreds of thousands of Congolese have been forced to flee as the conflict with a Ugandan rebel group spreads to new areas.

MSF officials say that the rebel Lord's Resistance Army - led by international fugitive Joseph Kony - has spread their attacks on civilians into previously less affected areas. They say many of their patients have now been forced to flee for the second or third time.

The group says that the reports they are receiving in their clinics on the ground suggest that the ongoing violence in the region against civilians originates both from the LRA and the Congolese and Ugandan forces pursuing the rebels, as well as from simple banditry.

Meinie Nicolai, director of operations for MSF, urges humanitarian groups to fully respond to the expanding crisis.

"We think that the aid response is not enough. There are not enough actors. There are some actors in certain towns, but it's definitely not covering the area. And in some of the towns we are alone. We are concentrating on medical care, but it's definitely not enough," said Nicolai.

She says the fleeing Congolese are also in dire need of food, clean water, and decent shelter.

The aid group says that some towns in the region have become host to tens of thousands displaced Congolese yet are receiving little to no outside assistance. Nicolai notes that for families already suffering from intense poverty, hosting those forced from the countryside can prove an unbearable burden.

Ugandan and Congolese forces began a coordinated offensive against the LRA in late 2008. The LRA has since been on the move, seemingly breaking off into a number of smaller groups.

While Kony's exact location can not be confirmed, reports suggest he is on the move northward, currently in Sudanese territory. Roaming groups of his men have reportedly stayed behind in northeastern DRC, and a chunk of the group has moved into neighboring Central African Republic as well.

Both the Ugandan and southern Sudan militaries have stated they believe Kony is heading northward towards the Darfur region. Both have also recently insisted they think Kony might be heading eventually to Chad, a country on very icy relations with the Khartoum government.

Analysts increasingly believe that the Ugandan rebel group could be receiving direct support from Khartoum, a belief strengthened by the speculation about Kony's move northward. Khartoum built links to the group during Sudan's North-South civil war to help destabilize the southern region.

Some insist that, with a peace deal teetering, the North might be hoping to use Kony once again as a proxy to terrorize the southern Sudanese. Khartoum vehemently denies Kony receives any residual support from the Sudanese government, saying all links were cut years ago.

The DRC Kinshasa government responded critically to the claims by MSF, saying that the bulk of the fighting has now moved to southern CAR. The DRC minister of information Lambert Mende suggested that besides "a few peasants from some villages in the northern part of our country," most of the displaced were fleeing from the across the CAR-DRC border.

But MSF's Nicolai says that the group is simply reporting what it is hearing from its patients pouring in from the surrounding areas.

"We hear from our patients in the health centers stories of burned villages, abductions, rape," she said. "We get victims of rape. We hear stories about killings. That is what our patients tell us and what we also see in our health services," she added.

In her plea for urgent action from humanitarian groups, Nicolai reiterates that - while the region's isolation, poor roads, and insecurity do make doing work there difficult - the group has nevertheless been able to carry on its operations.

She says the group's staff has so far remained unharmed by the violence in the area.

Related articles

  1. No elections in DR Congo in December without electronic voting machines: INEC (February 13, 2018)
  2. DRC Seeks Arrest of Presidential Candidate Moise Katumbi (May 19, 2016)
  3. UN Report Blames Ugandan Islamists for 237 Killings in DR Congo (May 14, 2015)
  4. Violence in North Kivu Kills 21, Mostly Women, Children (October 18, 2014)
  5. Security Council extends UN mission, intervention force in DR Congo for one year (March 28, 2014)
  6. Death toll in Lake Albert boat accident rises to 251 (March 27, 2014)
  7. U.S. sending more personnel to Uganda to hunt LRA leader Joseph Kony (March 24, 2014)
  8. Colonel Mamadou Ndala Is Killed in Ambush (January 2, 2014)
  9. DR Congo, M23 Rebels Sign Declarations Marking End of Kampala Peace Talks (December 12, 2013)
  10. DR Congo Honors Nelson Mandela, Hero and Model for Humanity (December 6, 2013)
  11. Congo Will Not Sign a 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, Government Says (November 6, 2013)
  12. Congo Army Takes Control of Mbuzi Hill From M23 Rebels (November 4, 2013)
  13. Kabila Congratulates Congo Army for Defeating M23 Rebels (October 30, 2013)
  14. Congo Army Dislodges M23 Rebels From Strategic Town of Kibumba (October 26, 2013)
  15. DR Congo Will Defend Itself Against an Attack by Rwanda, Government Says (August 31, 2013)
  16. Mortar Shells From Rwanda Kill Civilians in Eastern Congo (August 23, 2013)
  17. DR Congo Asks Rwanda to Turn Over M23 Rebel Leaders (July 26, 2013)
  18. M23 Rebels in Disarray in Eastern Congo, Says Government Spokesman (July 19, 2013)
  19. 120 M23 Rebels Killed in East, Government Says (July 15, 2013)
  20. DR Congo Will Not Negotiate With M23 Rebels, Government Says (November 19, 2012)
  21. Congo Government Says Bosco Ntaganda Rebels Trained in Rwanda (June 10, 2012)
  22. Congo Army Advances On Rebels Holdout, Says Official (June 5, 2012)
  23. Kabila Names Members of New Government (April 30, 2012)
  24. Kony 2012 video director detained (March 16, 2012)
  25. LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony target of viral campaign video (March 7, 2012)
  26. Kabila Is Open to Dialogue with Tshisekedi, Government Spokesman Says (February 22, 2012)
  27. UN, AU vow to eradicate Ugandan rebel group LRA in 2012 (January 5, 2012)
  28. Tshisekedi's New Tactics Bring Back Old Memories (November 12, 2011)
  29. Tshisekedi's Mental Health Called into Question after Incoherent Statements (November 8, 2011)
  30. Obama Sends Troops to Help Fight the LRA (October 14, 2011)

Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio
Available on App Store
Get it on Google Play

Contact Us | About Us | Édition en Français | French Edition

© All rights reserved.