Doctors Without Borders, MSF, a French humanitarian organisation, stated on Monday that it would halt humanitarian aid activities in two communities in the DR Congo‘s Ituri’s northeastern province due to an surge in violent attacks, two of which recently targeted its staff.
“Lack of security and impunity have forced MSF to close down humanitarian efforts in the villages of Nizi and Bambu.
“This decision comes in the ongoing absence of security guarantees on behalf of the various groups fighting in the region,” the organisation told reporters on Monday.
Although the two settlements are currently under the hands of the Congolese army, attacks on military infrastructure and vehicles are common.
“The risks are too great for MSF (the French acronym of the charity) to return to these zones with any confidence. our mission is to save lives, but not by sacrificing our own,” Olivier Maizoué, head of MSF programmes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Armed men opened fire on an MSF van on its route to Bambu to assist the locals on October 28. In the incident, two of the five passengers were hurt.
Armed parties have been urged by MSF to observe international law that protects humanitarian aid workers. It also requested that the government conduct an investigation into the attack, but this request has yet to be met.
The Boga general hospital, where MSF works, was assaulted and pillaged in June, killing 12 people.
In the mineral-rich eastern DRC, an estimated 122 armed groups of various sizes operate, many of which are the result of regional battles in the 1990s. The army has conducted operations in the area but has been unable to prevent civilian massacres.
Children and internally displaced individuals who have access to free medical treatment in this region will be the first victims of the shutdown of activities.
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