African Humanitarian Crisis:

Goma (IP) - For several days, thousands of residents of Saké in the DRC have fled to Goma, adding to several hundred thousand displaced people already crowded into unsanitary camps on the outskirts of Goma.

Iran PressAfrica: We are at the Lushangala displaced persons camp in the Mugunga district. Mugunga district to the west of the city of Goma.

The conflict between the rebels of the M23 (March 23 Movement), supported by units of the Rwandan army, and the armed forces of the DRC (FARDC) supported in particular by armed groups called “patriots” (wazalendo), has lasted for more than two years and has worsened a chronic humanitarian crisis in the region, plagued by recurring armed violence for three decades. According to the High Commission for Refugees, 135,000 people fled Saké, in the DRC, in one week to take refuge in Goma.

Thus, civilians are crowded into already overcrowded churches, schools, and displaced persons camps, in very difficult conditions. These displaced persons camps, located on the western and northern outskirts of the city, remain very exposed to fighting. The displaced people who continue to arrive are building makeshift shelters while awaiting the intervention of the government and humanitarian organizations.

Alice FAIDA, mother of 6 children told  Iran Press, “Here we are in suffering, look at a bed where 6 people are sleeping, sometimes three are there and three on the floor, do you find this normal for a serious government? can we live here, we are suffering because we cannot change such a situation”.Simba Luanda mother of 9 children to Iran Press said, “We fled the war in Sake, we saw several bombs falling in SAKE, I saw my neighbors who died following these bombs and we are afraid because the fragments of the bombs destroyed the houses, that is why we decided to flee and come here to Mugunga. Here where we are we suffer a lot, we sleep very badly, others sleep outside, look, it's a small house, children have no place to sleep sometimes the authorities come to our aid because we are suffering many here, that they also end this war so that we can return home because we are suffering a lot”.

As in recent days, marked by an intensification of the conflict, the main clashes were concentrated around the town of Sake, considered a strategic barrier on the road to the provincial capital of North Kivu. A predominantly Tutsi rebellion, the M23 emerged in 2012 and, towards the end of that year, briefly occupied Goma, before being militarily defeated the following year.

He reappeared in November 2021, criticizing the government for not respecting agreements on the reintegration of its fighters. Since then, it has seized large areas of territory in North Kivu. Amani Muhindo, displaced from Sake, to Iran Press he said, “It is because of the suffering that we are here, we fled the war from Sake, we slept in schools but we lacked what to do, so we were forced to come and build shelters here but unfortunately since we have been here no one has ever come to assist us. [cut] We fled the war, everyone was fleeing in all directions until we arrived here, no international organization came to help us here, no one helps us here”

For a week, the battle of Saké has sparked tensions in the country and increased criticism of the UN and Western countries, accused of turning a blind eye to the violence in the East and even of "complicity" with the Rwandan godfather of the rebellion. 

Following tensions between the DRC and Rwanda, an extraordinary summit on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) began Friday, February 16 evening, in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital and headquarters of the African Union (AU). The meeting, convened by the Angolan Head of State, João Lourenço, is dedicated to the relaunch of the peace process in eastern DRC, after the deployment of a mission from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), approved in August 2023, in Luanda.

This meeting was held in the presence of the Congolese head of state, Félix Tshisekedi, who is staying in Addis Ababa. Mediator Joao Lourenco stressed that this approach aimed to relaunch the peace process, seriously compromised by the escalation of fighting in eastern DRC.

Alice Kakuta's mother displaced from Sake, told Iran Press: "I was in Sake, I saw how the bullets were killing my neighbors and I decided to flee with my children so that they wouldn't die too, that's why I'm building here, but it is total suffering, we are going through an ordeal. I am building to see how I want to protect my children from the rain. Let the government help us, look, we are here with nothing. [cut] let this war end to see if I will return home, I am a farmer, but living in these conditions with the children is real."


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