Violence in the DR Congo: Goma panics as M23 rebels move forward

Emile Bolingo is unsure of how long he and the other Goma inhabitants in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can endure their situation. For several days, the two million or so residents of this large city in the area have been shut off from the fields that provide them with food. It is the most recent in a string of violence outbreaks that have resulted in tens of thousands more people being displaced from their homes in the nation than the seven million who have been displaced due to various conflicts. Produce is being prevented from entering Goma from the north and west by rebels belonging to the M23 movement, an ethnic Tutsi-led militia.


“If the [Congolese army] does not liberate any of the important roadways very soon, we fear that we will go hungry. The panic is palpable here. Folks are really afraid,” Mr. Bolingo said to the BBC. The population of Goma has increased recently as a result of individuals fleeing the fighters who are moving closer. Attackers targeted Sake, a town 25 kilometers (15 miles) to the northwest of Goma, on Wednesday. Mundeke Kandundao told the BBC from his hospital bed in Goma, where he had surgery, “I sustained a pelvic injury caused by shrapnel.”


According to the 25-year-old motorbike taxi driver, on Wednesday, the rebels fired a shell from a hilltop overlooking the town. “I was standing behind a cabin and there were a lot of other people there and that’s where it exploded,” stated the man. We are afraid because, as you are aware, the conflict has no end and never ends. In order to return to our houses, we are waiting to see if this stops.” From the state-run Bethsaida Hospital in Goma, Laurent Cresci of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) informed the BBC that Wednesday’s patient count had increased: Indeed, there were many casualties. There are now 130 patients in our ward from the previous 80, so it’s really hard to manage.”

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