A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Oxfam reaction to UN announcement on the enforcement of a security zone and call for disarmament in Goma and Sake
In reaction to the UN’s peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO’s) announcement on the enforcement of a security zone and call for disarmament in Goma and Sake, Oxfam's humanitarian program coordinator in DRC, Tariq Riebl said;
"Oxfam urges the UN Peacekeeping force to proceed with the utmost caution as it enforces their call for disarmament and to ensure that civilians are adequately protected from any ensuing violence. The removal of so many arms that have been used to terrorize civilians in the area should help reduce the appalling levels of human suffering but the UN must ensure that its operations do not make a bad situation much worse."
"The humanitarian repercussions from the escalation in conflict have already been devastating for the civilian population with tens of thousands fleeing to safety internally and across the border into Uganda.”
“The Goma-Sake area that will be the focus of the UN international brigade is packed with tens of thousands of displaced Congolese. Civilians have gone through hell and back again over the last year and are desperate for peace and stability. The MONUSCO brigade must give guarantees that those civilians stuck in the middle of this crisis will be protected. Congolese men and women have suffered enough through the years, we call on all parties to make the protection of the local population their top priority."
** Oxfam is one of the biggest agencies in North Kivu province. In Goma, we are working in 3 main camps: Bulengo, Lac Vert and Mugunga III providing cash distributions and a community services program for displaced persons.
** In the past two weeks fighting has renewed between the M23 rebels and FARDC a few kilometers outside of Goma causing displacement. Additionally, civilians have been forced to flee en masse from Kamango across the border into western Uganda following reported violence by the ADF. Oxfam is now providing water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to thousands of refugees in Bubukwanga transit camp.
** The United Nations Security Concern Resolution (2098) adopted on the 28th March 2013 authorized the establishment of an Intervention Brigade (IB) within MONUSCO to “carry out targeted offensive operations... either unilaterally or jointly with the FARDC to prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize these groups, and to disarm them in order to contribute to the objective of reducing the threat posed by armed groups on state authority and civilian security in eastern DRC and to make space for stabilization activities.”
For more information and to arrange interviews please contact:
Georgette Thomas - Oxfam Media Officer (based in Nairobi)
mobile: +44 (0)7824 503108
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Our report on civilian protection in the DRC: Commodities of War: Communities speak out on the true cost of conflict in eastern DRC (Nov 2012)
Oxfam DRC Lobbying Brief: "For me, but without me, is against me": Why efforts to stabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo are not working (pdf, 4 July 2012)