MSF calls for 6-hour ceasefire

Press release, Kisingani, DRC: June 10, 2000 - Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the international medical aid agency, is calling upon the Rwandan and Ugandan governments to arrange a temporary cease-fire tomorrow (Sunday June 11) afternoon in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 10am last Monday, the intensity of the fighting and the lack of an effective cease-fire has made it impossible for the MSF team to go to the health centres and hospitals where they could take care of the wounded. Yet MSF has both the medical personnel and the supplies in Kisangani to save many lives. A 6-hour cease-fire is vital for MSF to set up emergency surgical posts and supply health centres with drugs and medical materials, as well as with water. A break in hostilities would also enable the wounded to reach hospitals, the population to get food and water, and for families to find each other and bury their dead. For six days now there has been no water supply in the city. This is why MSF is directly asking the governments and military chiefs responsible for the forces on the ground to respect a temporary truce on Sunday 11th June from midday (local time) for 6 hours, to permit humanitarian agencies to have access to the victims of the fighting. It is also vital that the combatants respect the basic rights of the civilian population in Kisangani who are caught in the middle of heavy fighting. MSF calls upon the warring parties to take every care to spare civilians, as they are required to do under the Geneva Conventions. MSF also requests that the civilian population in Kisangani be allowed to flee the city in safety.