“I am 20km from Beni on the Butembo-Beni road. I came here to meet IDPs who have managed to escape the fighting. They are telling me that the fighting is now on the outskirts of Kanyabayonga and Kunda militia seems to be having the upper hand. The situation is very tense and we might have a humanitarian catastrophe.”
“I have received a depressing request for help from the business community from Lubero who are afraid of looting if the town falls to rebel hands. They are also scared that the retreating government soliders have been looting and killing civilians! I have received calls for help from people stranded on the Kanyabayonga Lubero road.”
What is CRC doing at the moment?
- I have been in touch with the UN reps in Beni and Butembo to help secure the roads so that stranded people can get out.
- I have spoken to the rich businessmen of Butembo so that they can exert pressure on the government to discipline their renegade soldiers.
- We are establishing contact with the rebel leadership so that they can reassure the communities within the towns they control. I believe that people are better living in their own homes under rebel-controlled areas than living as IDPs beside the roads or in camps.
- We have been airing messages of reassurance and dispelling rumours through the local radio to calm down the situation and minimise panic.
- We are also organising a huge fundraising event this Sunday to assist the humanitarian crisis. There are no international NGOs in our area offering assistance, most them are held up in Goma.”