6 December 2017

Congo-Kinshasa: Doctors Robbed, Beaten Up in Restless DRC

Kinshasa — MEDICAL doctors have threatened to leave the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo following a spate of robberies and assault by armed groups.

The violations are increasing in Mweso in the Masisi territory of the North Kivu Province where rebels recently broke into the Doctors Without Borders compound, brutalised staff, made threats of kidnapping before robbing the compound of money and equipment.

Anna Halford, the medical humanitarian organisation's head of mission in North Kivu, said the incursion and violence against the doctors necessitated that everything possible was done to find the people responsible.

Doctors Without Borders was forced to suspend its major humanitarian project in Mweso following the abduction of two staff members in 2015, leaving 450,000 people without free medical care.

Halford pointed out they restarted activities in 2016, when some conditions for the return were met, including the arrest of the main suspects of that attack and the understanding by the authorities and the community that such incidents could not be tolerated.

The organisation had also demanded that its facilities, compounds and personnel must be respected.

"I am deeply concerned that despite concerted efforts to remain in Mweso since 2015, we continue to be a target of violence," Halford lamented.

Doctors Without Borders is treating thousands afflicted by malaria and severe malnutrition in North Kivu, which hosts the largest number of displaced people in due to decades-old conflict in the DRC.

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