Level-three humanitarian crisis in DR Congo

As if more than 23 years of armed conflict were not enough, in 2016, a terrible new conflict erupted in the greater Kasaï region of DR Congo. The violence has led to the displacement of an estimated 1.4 million people (IRIN), including approximately 880,000 children. It’s a bit complicated, but, essentially, a rebel militia group known as Kamwina Nsapu has been leading a revolt against government security forces, and a bloody battle has ensued. Unfortunately, the civilian population has been caught in the crossfire. Driven by witchcraft, the Kamwina Nsapu have turned on the civilian population with barbaric killing sprees, burning people alive, chopping off limbs, etc. Some reports indicate that government troops have engaged in similar acts of violence. Needless to say, the violence and displacement has created a horrific humanitarian crisis. In fact, late last year the UN declared the situation in DRC a level-three emergency, which is the same level as those of Iraq, Syria, and Yemen (IDMC).

Meanwhile, in the North Kivu Province, an Islamist rebel military organization known as ADF has been terrorizing the local population for years. “The people of DRC and Uganda are all too familiar with ADF’s modus operandi: kidnapping and enslaving women and children, human trafficking, forced conversion, forced marriage, torture, summary execution, attacking hospitals, and using child soldiers” (Daniel Fahey). As a result, more than a million people are displaced in North Kivu as well (UNHCR).