MILITARY AND SECURITY SITUATION
The military situation was stable today, with the exception of the operation at Runyoni (see below). In Masisi territory, Sake and its environs are under the control of FARDC Integrated Brigades (IB), but Ngungu is with Nkunda's 81st brigade. In Western Rutshuru, the 9th IB has control of Nyanzale and the 2nd IB has control of Kikuku. In central Rutshuru, Tongo is controlled by the 9th IB, but the 83rd brigade controls a strategic hill in neighbouring Mulingi.
The current "red" axes for the province are: Rutshuru-Bunagana, Rutshuru-Kanyabayonga, Sake- Kitchanga and Sake-Masisi. The Rutshuru-Ishasha axis is also not recommended without escort. The MONUC CIMIC officer stated today that requests can be made for escort and they will be considered on a case by case basis. There is a possibility they will be granted if conditions and resources permit. Major General Patrick Cammaert, commander of the eastern division of MONUC, visited North Kivu and performed a flyover of the Bunagana area.
Runyoni, eastern Rutshuru territory:
At 9:30 a.m., the FARDC integrated brigades launched a major assault against 83rd/81st positions at Runyoni. The attack involved two battalions of the 11th IB based at Natamenga (south of Runyoni) and Matebe (north of Runyoni), as well as one battalion of the 9th from Bunagana. The strength of the Nkunda loyalists at Runyoni is estimated at 100-150 soldiers. By 11:50 a.m., the integrated brigades had taken two major strategic points, but subsequently lost one of them. Sporadic fighting continued throughout the day. The combat was limited to the Runyoni area, and Bunagana was unaffected. No casualty figures have been made available. The Nkunda loyalist elements remain in control of Runyoni.
IDP AND REFUGEE SITUATION
Area of Bunagana, on the Ugandan border in Rutshuru territory:
According to UNHCR there has been a large wave of returns, and now there are only 2,000 Congolese on the Ugandan side of the border. The majority of these refugees remain very near to the border, monitoring the situation and waiting for an opportunity to return. Some humanitarian assistance has been provided by agencies based in Uganda, but given the tide of returns this displacement is not expected to constitute a major crisis.
Sake, Masisi territory
A protection mission was carried out today by UNCHR, NRC and OCHA. According to local authorities, out of a population of 13 000 families, 9 398 have already returned. However, not all returnees have accessto their homes, given their continued occupation by FARDC soldiers, especially in the "Birere" neighbourhoods.
MSF-H visited the health centre in Sake to examine several patients suspected of having contracted cholera. Out of 9 suspected cases at the health centre, MSF was able to test 5, and 3 of these were cholera positive. This is far above the established epidemiological threshold for Sake of 1 case of cholera per week. There have already been 2 deaths due to suspected cholera since the onset of crisis. Furthermore, given the lack of drugs in the Sake health centre, many other suspected cases have been transferred to Kirotche. According to MSF, the presence of a large number of military with poor hygiene practices is a major contributing factor.
Distributions in Rutshuru area
Joint WFP/RRM distributions for the Tongo displaced in the Rutshuru area continued today. WFP and NRC distributed food rations for 660 families in Rubare, and operations will continue in Rutshuru on Monday. Solidarités/ RRM will be distributing 2 blankets per family for 550 families in Kiwanja (next to Rutshuru) tomorrow (9 Dec).
President Kabila's assistance in Sake
A donation of $50 000 was given to people of Sake and is being managed by an ad hoc committee. A distribution was started yesterday (7 Dec). The goods purchased for distribution include: 393 cartons of peanut oil, 156 packs of blankets, 250 metal sheets, 500 mattresses. MSF-H and RRM assistance for cholera in Sake MSF-H will give medical support to the health centre in Sake for 2-3 days, and will monitor the rate of cholera cases. If the situation does not stabilise, they will consider establishing a cholera treatment centre. They have also suggested distributing hygiene kits to the soldiers stationed in Sake to reduce the spread of the problem. UNICEF is also considering action through the RRM to establish chlorination points at the Sake water sources.
Solidartiés/RRM has been registering displaced persons along the Sake-Minova axis. Up to this point, 600 families have been registered. No assistance has yet been planned.
Maimouna N. Mills, Public Information and Advocacy Manager, email@example.com, - Tel.: +243 819889191
Patrick Lavand'homme, Head of Office, Goma, North Kivu, firstname.lastname@example.org, +243 819889149
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.