The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has reported that the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has affected thousands of families and created a deteriorating humanitarian situation.
Development Diaries reports that the conflict in North Kivu Province between the March 23 Movement (M23) and the Congolese army (FARDC) has intensified, with devastating consequences for civilians.
The fighting, which had previously been confined to Rutshuru territory, has spread to Masisi territory, causing hundreds of thousands of people to flee for the provincial capital of Goma.
Brutal clashes between groups have resulted in massive population displacement with many killed, wounded, or traumatised, and villages burnt.
It is understood that the situation in Tanganyika Province remains volatile and threatens to flare up again at any moment, preventing the displaced from going back to their villages and living normal life.
‘The conflict is nearing densely populated urban areas, which is extremely concerning’, the Head of the ICRC delegation in the country, Pascal Hundt, said in a statement.
‘The ICRC reminds all parties to the conflict that they must respect international humanitarian law, including by taking every feasible precaution to protect civilians and civilian objects from combat’.
In February 2023 alone, 300,000 people fled their homes in North Kivu Province’s Rutshuru and Masisi territories.
It is also understood that humanitarian organisations are struggling to get through, mainly because of the lack of security, passable roads and funding.
Development Diaries calls on the African Union (AU), through the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC), to ensure the full implementation of the outcomes of the February 17 East African Community (EAC) Mini-Summit and the Communiqué of the Luanda Mini-Summit of November 2022.
We also urge all parties to the conflict to respect the international humanitarian laws which demand that those who do not take part in the fighting, such as civilians and medical, remain protected.
Photo source: ICRC