DR Congo: Thousands of civilians affected by spiral of violence in three central provinces
(Kinshasa, 6 January 2017): Tens of thousands of innocent civilians living in the provinces of Kasaï, Kasaï Central and Kasaï Oriental in the center of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have been caught in a cycle of violence since August 2016 borne out of tensions between Congolese authorities and the militia of a local chief known as Kamuina Nsapu in Dibaya, Kasai Central.
The August violence led to an estimated over 100 deaths among civilians, militia men and state security forces; public buildings ransacked; loss of homes and other property, and population movement. It is estimated that dozens of minors have been enrolled into the militia.
In September, a fresh bout of violence pitting the militia and state security forces led to some 40 dead in Kananga, Kasai Central, violence that was repeated in mid-October and December 2016; in early December, the Kamuina Nsapu militia crossed into Tshikapa, in Kasai Province, to partake in a conflict between two communities.
In mid-December, a joint mission led by OCHA determined that some 150,000 people have been affected by the violence. The mission, which included the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Congolese authorities and several NGOs, including Action contre la Faim and Adventist Development Relief Agency), traveled to Tshikapa to take stock of the situation, of the ongoing response efforts and to mobilize much-needed attention on this crisis that currently under-reported. Funding is urgently required with only 15,000 people have received direct cash assistance through UNICEF-supported activities, to date.
The situation is worsening by the day. Yesterday 5 January, OCHA received reports of new violence in Dibaya.
"It is a matter of great concern that humanitarian needs are growing so dramatically in parts of the Kasai provinces. It is imperative that appropriate attention is brought in support of those impacted by humanitarian crises regardless where they happen. The humanitarian community is fully committed to respond and calls on donors to support the response activities. We also call on the Congolese authorities to continue to do all within their power to resolve the root causes of this crisis”, said Dr. Mamadou Diallo today, reflecting on the situation.
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