MSF withdraws from Bunia and Ituri district in the DRC
On January 29, 2000, MSF withdrew its team from Bunia and all operations in the Itiru district of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were suspended.
In the past few months, the humanitarian situation in the Ituri
district has steadily detoriated. Besides the conflict between rebels
and government forces, there has been increasing violence between two
etnic groups, the Hema and Lendu.
The conflict in the district has cost the lives of thousands and
caused over 150,000 people to be displaced
within the region. Many villages have been razed to the ground; the
fields that were used for crop cultivation are totally deserted. The
conflict has led to the collapse of the already fragile healthcare
system. In the past six months, the area has been ravaged by various
epidemics including measles, the plague, and cholera.
There has been growing distrust among the population towards MSF with regards to MSF's neutrality. This led to a violent attack on an MSF team and ultimately it became impossible for MSF to continue its assistance to the population.
MSF is extremely concerned about allegations and the climate of
hostility in the region, and fears a further escalation of the