Humanitian Crisis in Minembwe, Democratic Republic of Congo

adelejf
Posted February 19, 2020 from Democratic Republic of the Congo

I want the Democratic Republic of Congo government, the UN, the international news media and the International Community to know about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Minembwe, a region in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Over the past 10-11 months or so, Mai Mai militias in Eastern Congo have launched unprecedented, systemic attacks against the Banyamulenge tribe in the Plateaus of Itombwe.  They have killed more than 200 people, raped women, burnt down more than 300 villages, drove tens of thousands of people into desperation and starvation, and stole thousands of cows. Survivors of this violence - estimated at over 70,000 people. Thousands of displaced are cramped up in a small town of Minembwe, surrounded by militia groups. They have nowhere to go. Food is becoming scarce. Infectious diseases are spreading.

The people who are affected are my people. They are my uncles. My cousins. Our aunties. My grandmothers. My former neighbors and childhood friends. The UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently updated its estimates: 60% of the estimated 350K population of the high plateaus of Itombwe have been displaced, many of their houses having been burnt, they have nowhere to go. Thousands of households lost their houses and will need to rebuild. They’re sleeping out in the open, unsure of where the next meal is going to come from. Having gone through similar situations over a decade ago, the Banyamulenge diaspora in the US knows well what it feels like. The feeling of loss, isolation, despair, and hopelessness.

On February 19, 2020, Hundreds of women in Minembwe took it to the streets (See attached video) to protest the removal of the only one police chief who has assured their security while some governments force rape women, stoles goods, and terrorize civilians without consequences.  

 

Women of Minembwe are requesting he be reinstated in this region. He worked tirelessly to protect these women against sexual violence in the conflict zone.  This official did not hesitate to hold accountable those who terrorized civilians and rape women in this area. He allowed peaceful trading of goods so that they can still carry out reasonable business activities despite persistent rebels’ attacks around them.

Women of Minembwe are afraid that his removal means more rapes, more hunger, and more deaths.  To them, this official was their last line of defense. If he does not get reinstated, they are prepared for a massacre and even genocide of the Banyamulenge people in Minembwe.

 

As the leader of the Banyamulenge Diaspora in the US, I am calling upon the Congolese government to listen to the will of its people and reinstate him today.  I ask Dr. Denis Mukwege to step in and help the victims of rape who have gone for months without any medical care. I ask the international community to provide humanitarian aid to the displaced people that is so desperately needed. And to the Media, let the world know, so they would not say that they were never told.

Comments 14

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Hello, Adele,

Welcome back! How are you doing, dear sister? Oh, this is horrible. The numbers of the victims are alarming. We stand with you as you raise your voice on this inhumane and unjust circumstance in your region. Thank you for speaking out!

Metiege Noel Eve
Feb 21
Feb 21

Congratulations sister for sharing and I wish you the best in getting the desired help you seek for to resolve the crisis.

Anita Shrestha
Feb 21
Feb 21

Dear Sis
Thank you for sharing this information. Please update regulalry

baganda
Feb 21
Feb 21

bien venue ,oh condoléance pour les gens de minembwe

Beth Lacey
Feb 21
Feb 21

I have been reading about this in the press. So, so tragic.

Fanka
Feb 21
Feb 21

Hey Adelejf,
Courage my sister. I hope the government of Congo and the UN will do a timely intervention.

lizzymark
Feb 22
Feb 22

Hi sister Adele,this is really heart breaking and the number of people who are victims. Keep on raising your voice we are with you dear.

Regina Afanwi Young
Feb 22
Feb 22

Dear sister, thanks for this piece of information. Am sorry about the situation in your Country and also happy that you are taking action by speaking up. Be strong and keep up the fight. One day someone somewhere will hear the cries of the people.

Chocho Isaac
Feb 22
Feb 22

Let's join hands in fighting impunity in Eastern Congo.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Dear Adele,
His are you doing. This is indeed very sad news. We have you all in our prayers and we stand with you. Keep us posted in the situation.
Be strong we are here for you.

josline
Feb 26
Feb 26

condoléance pour le gens de minembwe

Eleen N
Feb 28
Feb 28

Dear Adele, thanks for sharing your story. Remain blessed and strong. Much love.

Tamarack Verrall
Feb 28
Feb 28

Dear Adele,
Among all of the reasons we need change for how women are treated, this year I am committed to raising the urgent message you and Neema have sent out, working to find ways to get this onto the news in my country and to pressing for action from the UN. Many of our countries are complicit in doing business with your country. Your words give us the information we need. Let's hope we can collectively make this happen.
In sisterhood,
Tam

Michelle Aslan
Feb 28
Feb 28

Praying for all of you and standing with you.

Love and blessings