Walter James (SOS Femme en Danger – SOSFED): Walter graduated in 2006 from the University of Minnesota. Following college, he worked on international development in Haiti and Senegal, and studied human rights and international development in Senegal, Costa Rica, and Morocco. Walter first visited Eastern Congo as a 2009 Peace Fellow for The Advocacy Project, where he documented the work of civil society organizations such as SOS Femmes en Danger, Arche d’Alliance, and Tunza Mazingira. The following year, he graduated from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy with a Master’s degree in Public Policy.

Weekend Update, Sud Kivu Edition

28 Oct

More news from Uvira/Fizi:

On 10/24, Mai Mai rebels attacked a FARDC position in the village of Kabumbe, next to the village of Mukwesi.  In the attack, 4 civilians were killed and 3 injured, and the FARDC suffered 2 dead and 2 injured.  Kabumbe/Mukwesi is about 2 hours south of Uvira, close to the town of Mboko.  The attackers allegedly belonged to Mai Mai Pascal, an armed group loyal to Pascal Bwasakala, a former protégé of Yakutumba.  The day after the Mai Mai attack, FARDC troops arrived to reinforce the position.  However, the attack prompted massive IDP movements away from Kabumbe/Mukwesi, leaving the villages virtually empty of inhabitants.  OCHA is cautioning all humanitarian workers passing through the Swima-Mboko area to only travel in vehicle convoys.  Furthermore, OCHA warns that if the situation persists or deteriorates, agencies will be forced to travel with a PAKBATT escort.

There are continuing inter-ethnic tensions in Tulambo and Maranda, two villages in the Massif d’Itombwe, a large forest in the Haut Plateau of Fizi.  Just since 10/21, clashes between the Bembe and Banyamulenge communities have left 4 wounded and 3 dead.  This next week, MONUSCO and several local NGOs are poised to launch a Joint Assessment Mission to the area.

On 10/21, the population of Kahanda, a village in Uvira Territory close to the town of Lemera, fled due to the arrival of Mai Mai Bede, a small band of armed men loyal to ex-FARDC commander Col. Bede Safari.  Col. Bede defected from the FARDC in 2010, and his troops only number in the dozens.  However, his arrival still precipitated a panicked IDP movement of around 64 households.  FARDC troops stationed nearby went to Kahanda to hunt down the Mai Mai Bede, but the rebels were warned in advance and fled before the FARDC arrived.

In addition, there are further reports of violence and insecurity occurring just this week: 2 nurses killed in Buhonde by unidentified armed men, 3 civilians kidnapped in Kalungwe, and a traditional chief shot in the night in Kitundu.  This is all just human-on-human violence; this past week rainy season floods have also destroyed part of the town of Sange, on the Rusizi Plain in Uvira Territory.  The damage includes the destruction of 500 houses, 3 schools, 1 bridge, and several fields.  The casualty toll from the flooding currently sits 5 dead and 2 severely injured.


Posted Oct 28th, 2011

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