"I'd gone out to plant peanut. The Bubangos [Mai-Mai] had arrived in my village during the night. There were 24 of them, most of them about 18 years old - a few of 15 years old. They had... guns and ...traditional weapons (bows, arrows, knives). They began to beat me. They tied me up saying: 'You're a friend of the FARDC'. They cut off my ears with a knife and attached them to their gun. They had already killed two men." December 2005, Male, 52 yrs
Gross neglect of the plight and suffering of the civilian populations of central Katanga by both international and national actors compounds the abuse and violence they have suffered, and the disease and vulnerability they experience. Two recent studies by the IRC and MSF underscore the high levels of mortality throughout DRC, levels that remain above the emergency threshold of 2/10,000 persons / day largely due to preventable diseases - with children under five being particularly affected.3
Due to on-going insecurity and the lack of attention to immediate needs by Government and non- Government actors alike, the situation in central Katanga is of particular concern. Widespread and continued insecurity as well as violence directed at civilians continue to spark displacement throughout the region. All armed actors must respect the civilian population and ensure humanitarian access to the population where possible.
The health and nutritional situation of the displaced and the communities who host them, remains precarious. Some actors are already talking about sending people home but returning weak and vulnerable communities to their home villages will not reverse their needs - because nothing has been left of their homes and insecurity remains.
Food is a major challenge, but more assistance is needed for clothes, blankets, shelter, mosquito nets, water and sanitation. Logistical constraints and planning for tomorrow must not become excuses for inactivity today. The absence of all other humanitarian actors in Katanga is incomprehensible in light of the glaring needs right now.
3 MSF; 2005; Access to Health Care, Mortality and Violence in DRC and IRC & Burnet Institute; 2005; Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Results from a Nationwide Survey: April - July 2004.