African Press Association

Food distribution halted after rebels’ reign of terror

DRC Food distributionFrom JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – HUMANITARIAN organisations have suspended food aid to thousands of South Sudanese refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This is a result of terror instilled by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group.
Some clinics have been closed after a series of looting by the Christian extremists.
Their presence is a serious concern to the safety of the population and UNHCR’s operations as they block access to a large number of refugees residing along the border between the neighbouring countries.
Assistance to the refugees north of Doruma remains suspended until the security situation improves.
Elsewhere, the entire area north of Dungu in the Haut-Uélé province is considered LRA’s operational centre. Repeated clashes have led to further displacement of the population.
The deployment of the DRC national army in the Aru territory in Ituri province has failed to curb the insecurity.
Recently, unidentified armed men thought to be members of the LRA attacked and looted the sole health centre in the area.
Its successive closure leaves more than ten villages in the region, including a large number of refugees residing in this area, without medical assistance.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the situation remains dire with cross-border movements of unidentified armed elements also reported in recent days.
More than 82 322 South Sudanese civilians gave sought refuge in the equally troubled DRC.
Women and children constitute more than half of the refugees who have fled the civil war in their country.
– CAJ News