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ICRC expresses its concern at the increase in families separated due to violence in Rutshuru, DRC

ICRC expresses its concern at the increase in families separated due to violence in Rutshuru, DRC

June 23 (EUROPA PRESS) –

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressed its concern this Thursday about the growing number of families that have been separated due to the upsurge in clashes between militias and the Congolese Army in the territory of Rutshuru, in the east of the country. .

“Our Red Cross teams in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo tell us that 800 children have been separated from their families as a result of the upsurge in violence in Rutshuru territory,” said the ICRC’s Director of Programs and Prevention in the country, Roman Machover.

More than 1,000 children have already lost contact with their parents as a result of the fighting between the Congolese Armed Forces and the armed group M23, which has been accused since November 2021 of carrying out attacks against Army positions in this area of ​​the country, despite the fact that he demobilized more than eight years ago.

According to the North Kivu Protection Group, a group of humanitarian actors working to protect civilians in the province, around 1,000 families have fled to Kabindi, Rugabo and Rutshuru in the center of the country, while another 4,000 have sought refuge in Uganda due to increased violence.

“The fighting caused a sense of panic. Family members lost contact with each other as they fled. The situation is particularly distressing for children, the elderly, the sick and people with disabilities,” he said. the director of the ICRC’s restoring family ties program in DRC, Pamela Ongoma.


The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have established a free telephone service for displaced people who have been separated from their loved ones, the organization said in a statement.

“It’s been two weeks since I lost contact with my brother. Shots were being fired and people were running in all directions,” Irakiza Musafiri, a refugee in Kanyaruchinya, told the ICRC.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the border, in Uganda, several thousand refugees are looking for their relatives who stayed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in other refugee camps, such as Nakivalé, Kyaka or Rwamwanja, in the southwest of the country. From Uganda, 373 applications have been received from unaccompanied minors searching for their families.

According to data provided by the organization, since March, refugees have been able to make more than 4,088 free calls -another 2,210 were made, although they did not receive an answer-. To date, 155 unaccompanied children have been reunited with their parents.

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Written by Editor TLN

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