Humanitarian Convoy Attacked in Volatile Eastern DR Congo

By on July 2, 2024

A humanitarian convoy was attacked in the war-ravaged eastern DR Congo, an area blighted by clashes between M23 rebels and government forces, sources told AFP on Monday.

Two members of staff are still missing following the attack that took place in North Kivu province, UK organization Tearfund said in a statement.

Other sources told AFP that the attack had led to two deaths.

“Tearfund strongly condemns the attack on humanitarian aid staff who are working tirelessly to serve the people of the DRC,” the statement read.

The convoy was leaving a combat zone and heading north when it was attacked near the town of Butembo in the Lubero territory by youths who suspected rebel infiltration, local sources said.

The North Kivu province has been racked by violence since 2021 when the M23 resumed its armed campaign in the region.

The charity said their vehicles were burnt and destroyed in the attack.

Five vehicles, carrying around fifteen people, all of Congolese nationality, were set on fire, according to a humanitarian source.

“We urge all parties to respect and protect aid workers, ensuring their safety as they carry out their vital mission,” Tearfund said.

The Rwanda-backed M23 continued to tighten its grip in North Kivu at the end of last week, seizing more towns.

At the weekend, the group captured the strategic town of Kanyabayonga, which is seen as a gateway to the major commercial centers of Butembo and Beni.

According to officials and security sources, other towns near Kanyabayonga have also been seized by M23.

Clashes between the M23 and Congolese armed forces took place on Monday to the north of Kirumba, which the rebels seized on Sunday, a local civil society member said.

At least four civilians were also killed further south in Masisi territory — also in North Kivu — where fighting was taking place, a local administrative source said.

Kinshasa accuses Rwanda of backing the Tutsi-led M23 rebel group, which Kigali denies.

DR Congo’s mineral-rich east has been racked for 30 years by fighting between  both local and foreign-based armed groups, going back to regional wars of the 1990s.

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