Congo: Streams of IDPs



CPT has sent three delegations to Congo and Uganda in October 2005, October/November 2006, and November/December 2007.

CPT’s 2007 exploratory delegation visiting Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) witnessed streams of people fleeing their homes throughout North Kivu province because of fighting between DRC troops and the rebel army of Laurent Nkunda.

Families laden with bundles of belongings, mattresses on their heads, children and babies in tow, headed east along country roads to camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) that extend for miles through green banana groves and over volcanic rock.

The number has swelled to over 800,000 IDPs in North Kivu province.  Others have fled as refugees to neighboring Uganda where the authorities have bussed thousands to centers far from the border.  Thousands more have camped out at the border between Congo and Uganda with no way to feed their families.  Generous Ugandan families host more and more refugees.?     The conflict in eastern Congo has festered since 1996, but the population moving to IDP camps has exploded since September 2007.  The battle over North Kivu has roots in ethnic hostilities and has developed into a complicated power struggle.  Military solutions have only caused suffering.  Politicians must now take responsibility for the distress of a million displaced people who just want to go home.

CPTers participating in the November/December 2007 delegation to Congo and Uganda were: Bob Holmes (Toronto, ON), Sandra Rincon (Colombia), Andrea Siemens (Toronto, ON), and Jane Mackay Wright (Providence Bay, ON).