DRC internally displaced reaches 5.8 million: Endless conflict

DRC internally displaced reaches 5.8 million: Endless conflict

Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is blighted by ethnic, political, and religious violence. This notably concerns the eastern parts of this country.

Last month, another 300,000 people fled ongoing violence. Hence, 5.8 million people are now internally displaced in the DRC. At the same time, over 1 million people fleeing regional conflicts have entered the DRC to burden an already horrendous situation further.

President Joe Biden of America – and other G7 nations – can find hundreds of billions of dollars to fund a war against the indigenous Russians of Donbass (Donbas) and the surrounding environs – and the armed forces of the Russian Federation who sent in its armed forces against Ukraine (conflict in Russian ethnic and cultural areas opposed to Ukraine began in 2014). However, funding to support the DRC and the 5.8 million internally displaced people is minor in comparison – the same concerns other conflicts.

UN News reports, “It is also one of UNHCR’s most underfunded operations worldwide. For 2023, UNHCR is asking for $232.6 million to assist internally displaced people and refugees in the DRC. As of today, the DRC operation is only eight percent funded.”

Stéphane Dujarric de la Rivière, the Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, said (last year) “the increase of attacks against civilians by the Cooperative for Development of the Congo (CODECO) and the M23, as well as the on-going presence of other foreign armed groups, including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Red Tabara and the Forces Démocratique Pour La Libération de Rwanda (FDLR), which continue to pose a threat to regional stability.”

Matthew Saltmarsh, a spokesperson for the UNHCR, said, “UNHCR teams on the ground reported horrifying testimonies of human rights violations in affected areas, especially in Rutshuru and Masisi territories, including arbitrary killings, kidnappings, extortion, and rapes.”

Voice of America reports, “The steep security deterioration in Ituri has been overshadowed by the recent turbulence in North Kivu. The latter has caused greater political and diplomatic fallout with Congo, the U.N., and other nations accusing Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels there. Rwanda denies it backs the M23.”

France 24 reports, “According to the UN experts’ report, Rwanda’s military intervened to “reinforce” the M23 as well as to combat the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) — a descendant of Rwandan Hutu extremist groups that carried out the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda.”

The Tutsi-dominated militia of the M23 naturally finds an ally in Rwanda irrespective if directly or utilized via a proxy force to attack the FDLR. At the same time, the M23 furthers the geopolitical intrigues of Rwanda when required. Hutu and Tutsi ethnic tensions have hindered Burundi and Rwanda for many decades at various times. Therefore, this ethnic tension spills over into the DRC and fuses with regional dynamics

Another regional spillover is the Islamist forces of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The ADF was formed in Uganda in the 1990s. Accordingly, the ADF focused on Uganda after its inception. However, the ADF is now more active in eastern DRC and often kills Christians in deplorable ways.

Several African nations now have troops on the ground in eastern areas of the DRC. Yet this is opposed by many in the DRC because of past failures.

The former prime minister Augustin Matata Ponyo, the Nobel winner Denis Mukwege, and the politician Martin Fayulu issued an important communique that denounced the role of foreign armies.

The communique said, “Instead of providing the country with an effective army, the government has prioritized externalizing national security, (placed in the hands of) foreign forces and, even worse, of countries which are behind the destabilization of this country.”

Accordingly, with 5.8 million internally displaced people – one million refugees from other nations blighted by conflict – and major health concerns: the situation is bleak in the eastern parts of this country. Therefore, it remains to be seen if a solution can be found that stabilizes the dire situation.



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