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MSF to suspend activities in part of North Kivu

NAIROBI, 20 Jan 2005 (IRIN) - Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has suspended aid activities in one of the most war-torn areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s North Kivu Province after people in army uniform attacked the charity's facility late Tuesday.

"They took money, communication equipment and one of our vehicles from our base in the village of Kabati," Jean-Christophe Dollé, the head of the MSF mission in Goma, told IRIN on Thursday.

"The continuation of project activities are severely hampered," he added.

MSF had been using its base in Kabati to provide help to some 100,000 people in the districts of Masisi and Rutshuru, many of whom had fled from nearby Kanyabayonga where regular army units were recently fighting each other.

"I don't know what will happen to the thousands of displaced civilians there as there are few other humanitarian agencies currently in the area," Dollé said. "But we need a minimum of security in order to be able to function."

"MSF is still able to provide assistance to those civilians who fled north from Kanyabayonga out of a mobile clinic in the town of Kayna," said Dollé.

MSF staff have been providing emergency medical care to the hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of Masisi and Rutshuru districts since 1992. MSF has been operating from Kabati since 2002 helping prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS, treating children for malnutrition and supporting local vaccination campaigns.

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