No fewer than 300,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in DR Congo after extreme violence, including reports of rape and indiscriminate killings, erupted in Ebola-stricken Ituri province. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is calling on the international community to seek urgent solutions to end the bloodshed and to stop the humanitarian crisis from spiralling out of control.
“New displacements, lack of financial support, little to no humanitarian access due to insecurity and the spread of a deadly virus, is pushing DR Congo to the brink of disaster. The international community is looking away while a new humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding and it deserves urgent attention now,” said Maureen Philippon, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in DR Congo.
“The level of atrocities, human rights violations and killings have reached a new high in Ituri province and again innocent civilians are bearing the brunt of this deplorable violence. We are hearing reports of indiscriminate killings, sexual violence, villages being burnt down and other forms of depravity against men, women and children,” she said.
Since early June, intense intercommunal violence in Djugu territory has forced more than 300,000 people to flee and seek refuge in neighbouring territories, according to estimates provided by UNHCR
According to several news reports, at least 160 persons have been killed while entire villages have been burned and abandoned. Displaced people have moved towards Bunia, the capital of Ituri province, and to more stable locations within Djugu, Mahagi and Irumu territories.
“The horrific consequences of violence are witnessed every day on the ground. It is frustrating to see the displacement and humanitarian crisis in DR Congo viewed by the world as a non-event year by year,” warned Philippon.
This latest emergency is likely to overstretch the already limited humanitarian resources available. As of June 25, only 21 per cent of the funds requested have been received.
“In the coming weeks, we will provide displaced persons in Bunia with food, shelters and household items that people can use for cooking and to shower but this will be nowhere near enough to cope with the needs. We urgently call on the international community to turn their declarations of deep concern into urgent action so we can reach as many displaced people as possible and ease their suffering,” Philippon concluded.”
Facts and Figures:
- Up to 300 000 displaced people in Ituri province alone (June 2019, UNHCR)
- Since the beginning of the current Ebola outbreak, there are 2153 confirmed cases in DR Congo and Ituri province alone has recorded 213 confirmed Ebola cases (June 2019), (DRC Health Ministry)
- About 13.1 million people are acutely food insecure across DR Congo, this represents 23% of the rural population of 101 territories, out of 145 territories; according to the IPC (August 2018 and June 2019)
- DR Congo was declared second most neglected crisis by the Norwegian Refugee Council – Neglected Crisis List 2018
- 4.5 million Congolese were internally displaced at the end of 2017 (UNOCHA)
- There were 1.8 million new displaced people by conflict and violence in DR Congo between January and December 2018 (IDMC)
- As of June 25, only 21 per cent of $1.65bn requested to respond to humanitarian needs in DR Congo has been received (UNOCHA)
- There are over 542 978 refugees in DR Congo (April 2019) (UNHCR)
- As of May 2019, there were 693,054 Congolese refugee and asylum seekers in Uganda (UNHCR)
Lagos govt. approves full reopening of churches, mosques
The Lagos state government on Saturday approved the full reopening of worship centres in the state.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who announced this during a briefing in the state said churches are now allowed to observe their mid-week services, while the mosques are also allowed to carry out their five times a day prayer routine, with strict compliance to COVID-19 safety protocols.
“We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must, therefore, strive to prioritize the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society,” the governor said.
Before now, the state had allowed for a gradual re-opening of places of worship as lockdowns eased.
With the full re-opening now, the governor has urged Lagosians to continue to act responsibly and maintain the required levels of hygiene.
Some other parts of the world have witnessed a resurgence of COVID-19 infections and rising possibilities of “hard lockdowns”, which according to Governor Sanwo-Olu may become inevitable for Nigerians if caution is not applied.
“Let me make it clear that if we do not continue to maintain our guard, and sustain the adherence to all required protocols and guidelines, we will find ourselves in a situation where fresh lockdowns are inevitable,” he warned.
“The only way to avoid this is to continue to act responsibly: maintain the required levels of hygiene, through regular handwashing and use of sanitizers, wear masks in all public places, avoid non-essential public gatherings, and maintain the prescribed levels of physical distancing at all times”.
The total infections in the country have now risen to 56,956, with 48,305 patients recovered and 1,094 deaths recorded.
At the onset of the virus in Nigeria, Lagos became the epicenter, gapping other states with its case load despite frantic efforts to curb the spread.
However, in recent times, other states such as Plateau have started to witness a surge with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 stating that it might become the new epicenter in the country.
Photos: Oyo deputy gov. donates patrol motorcycles to security operatives
The deputy governor of Oyo state, Engr. Raufu Olaniyan on Friday made a personal donation of patrol motorcycles to security operatives in Oke Ogun area of the state to boost their role of ensuring the safety of lives and properties.
Speaking at the event, Olaniyan noted that Security is one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration headed by Governor Seyi Makinde, adding that the government has invested massively to provide facilities and equipment for security operatives in the state to perform their roles.
Speaking further, the deputy governor remarked that ” In the light of the security challenges in the country, it is imperative that we support the government in tackling this malady. It was therefore a delight for me to donate patrol motorcycles, from my purse, to the various security outfits operating in the Oke Ogun area of our state.”
He stressed that security matters should be the responsibility of all and not the government alone.
Olaniyan, however , urged well meaning individuals and lovers of peace to support the government in creating a safe and conducive environment for growth.
Yorubas will resist arrest of proponents of Oodua Republic – Group
Groups under the aegis of Yoruba Frontier Movement (YFM) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resist from using security agencies to harass, intimidate or arrest proponents of Oodua Republic.
YFM in a statement made available to journalists by its National Coordinator, Comrade Abdulkabir Adesina and National Secretary, Aderemi Adisa condemned the plan by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic, saying that such action will only lead to breakdown of law and order.
The statement read, “We have received reports that there are plans by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic headed by Chief Sunday Igboho. We are using this medium to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to order security agencies to desist from such attempts because proponents of Oodua Republic are operating within the ambit of the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The group wondered why proponents of Oodua Republic have become the target of security agencies while Fulani herdsmen and bandits have remained untouchable.
“We should even go down memory lane. President Muhammadu Buhari while desperately seeking to become Nigeria’s president made many inciting statements capable of bringing anachy into the country but ex- President Jonathan never ordered for his arrest. On many occasions northern youths and elders have made similar inciting statements and heaven didn’t come down. As a matter of fact we have been calling for restructuring of Nigeria for a very long time.The failure of government to restructure Nigeria is the reason why we are calling for Oodua Republic. Yorubas have suffered greatly since the amalgamation of the country in 1914 owing to injustice against Yoruba race in Nigeria. As a race we have every right to demand for our right to either stay with Nigeria or go our separate ways”, the statement added.
It further lauded Chief Sunday Igboho for taking the bull by the horn, saying that Yorubas are fully in his support.
“We are using this medium to call on traditional rulers, Obas , leaders and all Yoruba sons and daughters to support the proponents of Oodua Republic”, the statement concluded.
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