Central Africa

1,400 Banyamulenge Families Flee Fighting



Civil society organisations are calling for emergency relief food and medical supplies to help more than 1400 Banyamulenge families that have fled intense fighting in highlands of South Kivu.

The displaced are fleeing clashes between opposing groups and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in the high and medium plateaus of Fizi.

“To date, we have 1,400 families of displaced people, coming from the various localities where the atrocities had been reported in the high and medium plateaus of Fizi,” said Lwikecha Lotengya the President of civil society in Nakiele, adding families are in deplorable situation.

According to Lotengya, the fleeing families are displaced from Kamombo, Kalingi, Chakira, Kanono, Mikenge, Mikarati and elsewhere. Some displaced are hiding in  the bush and others in schools, churches, and others in host families. They have no assistance in these villages.

“Here in Nakiele we already have 1,400 families but the rest are in neighboring villages, notably in Milindi, Kanguli, Kolumbi and Abala. Others are still on the way. We are asking for emergency aid from humanitarian workers and the government,”explains Lotengya.

Mukiza Gady, Mayor of the rural town of Minembwe explains that the situation has been made worse by impassable roads due to heavy rains especially along the Mulima-Minembwe axis.

“Some humanitarian organizations, including OXFAM and PAM, are willing to help them, but the state of the roads is lacking, vehicles have trouble driving. This is what is blocking it, “he said.

The Mayor adds that the other displaced persons from around 350 households are in central Minembwe, the others in Mikenge in the territory of Mwenga, Bijombo, Bibokoboko, Baraka, Fizi center and in the Lulenge sector their number is not known.

Alimasi Malumbi the Provincial Deputy for Fizi says the situation in the highlands remains worrying and calls on the army to do everything to restore peace in this part of the country.

He said attacks against civilians have become almost regular, especially in territory of Fizi. Deaths and massive displacements of the population are registered while we live in a dangerous period of the pandemic where everyone is recommended to stay at home.

“We have been pleading for help in the Provincial Assembly, but until now the solution has not yet been found. On the contrary, the situation is getting worse, every day innocent civilians continue to die in villages like Tuwe, Mikenge, Mikararati, Mizinga, Kinyura and imagine a village like Nakiele which will accommodate more than 1000 families,” he said.

“Among these armed groups that attack the population, we also have foreign groups, notably the Burundians. I wonder what our border security services are doing? We have the ANR, the DGM, the PNC and the FARDC so where do these Burundians go until they find themselves in the highlands?” wonders Alimasi Malumbi.

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