DR Congo

DR Congo/Ituri: MONUC stops FPJC militia's advance towards Marabo

The security situation remains tense in the localities of Marabo and Nyakunde respectively situated 40 and 44 km away from Bunia.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, 15 October, militia members of the Front Congolais pour la Justice au Congo (FPJC) attacked and captured FARDC positions at Nyakunde. Then they headed for Marabo but were stopped by Moroccan peacekeepers and forced to retreat to Nyakunde.

The militia's attack spread panic among the civil population in Marabo who took refuge in the areas around MONUC's compound. 600 people found refuge in a newly established makeshift camp. About 700 people in Nyakunde were reportedly held up by militia members who looted the hospital.

Nyakunde hospital is an important health facility of great reknown in the region and receives patients from across the district of Ituri and beyond. Faced with a threat to their physical safety, the hospital staff sent out a distress call to MONUC which dispatched Moroccan peacekeepers to the spot to help them out. The 14-people team including 13 Congolese and one Japanese doctor were then saved from danger in Marabo.

To cope with the ever deteriorating situation, efforts continue to be made to give a chance to peace. In Bunia, a council of religious communities known as CCRI has condemned the new outbreak of hostilities and appealed to the Government and Militia members to prioritize dialogue. The Governor of the Eastern Province has dispatched a high-power delegation comprised of 3 ministers and 15 provincial deputies to Bunia to investigate the actual situation and to assist the displaced population fleeing their villages following the fighting.

Aid workers on the ground backed by the World Food Programme are organising humanitarian assistance to the displaced populations. Caritas and the will Lutheran World Federation here helping those affected by the fighting.