Hunt for the FDLR: the UN and the National Commission for Refugees raise public awareness
After the launch, by the Congolese armed forces (FARDC), of the operation for forcible disarmament of Rwandan fighters of the FDLR in Uvira territory, South Kivu, the United Nations, the National Commission for Refugees and their partners on 25 February 2015 embarked on an awareness campaign among communities in the Ruzizi Plain and the Midlands of Lemera to promote peaceful cohabitation between local residents and displaced people, including Rwandan refugees.
Uvira, 25 February 2015 – A joint UNHCR, MONUSCO (DDR-RR Section) and National Commission for Refugees delegation travelled from Bukavu and Uvira to the combat zone. The delegation’s first top was at Sange, about 40 km from Uvira, where they met with local authorities and civil society actors, essentially over the issue of IDPs and refugees. At the center of their discussions was the protection of IDPs and refugees, including dependants of Rwandan combatants of the FDLR. The delegation asked local population representatives to direct Rwandan civilians arriving from the combat zone to UNHCR, while fleeing FDLR combatants who would blend in with these IDPs should be directed to the DDR-RR section of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO).
Local sources in Sange also confirmed the flow of IDPs from Mulenge and Mashuba to the Kigoma village grouping and Sange itself. But the same sources said that dependants of the FDLR, women and children, appeared to be heading to the Lemera area. The number of IDPs remained unknown but the sources said most of those have arrived in Sange were residing with host families.
Finally, during this meeting, the UN delegation announced that a World Bank delegation would arrive in Sange on Sunday 1st March. The mission’s objective will be to assess the needs of IDPs from Mutarule. Around 950 families fled to Sange from their villages in Mutarule in 2014, after a flare-up of intercommunity violence in which a least 33 people were killed. Their representatives said their living conditions in Sange were difficult. The World Bank mission will be a welcome one for Mutarule IDPs as they need support to rebuild their houses, healthcare center and schools which they abandoned a year ago.
Jean-Tobie Okala/Fiston Ngoma