DR Congo Extends State Of Siege In Violence Hit Eastern Region
Martial law extended by 15 days as attacks carried out by rebels continue in the region that saw volcanic eruption last month.
Democratic Republic of the Congo politicians voted on Thursday to extend martial law in the restive east of the country for 15 days, a month after they replaced civilian authorities with military administrations in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. Violence has been endemic in DRC’s mineral-rich eastern regions since the official end of the
civil war in 2003, but insecurity has soared in the past two years. On May 6, the government imposed a state of siege to try to end the bloodshed and violent attacks have since also continued too, but the Justice Minister Rose Mutombo also said numerous militia fighters had surrendered and the army had seized control of the new
areas. Much remains to be done and the recent volcanic eruption of Nyiragongo, which occurred in the middle of a state of siege has forced government to concentrate its efforts in dealing with this natural disaster, Mutombo also said. The eruption on the May 22 sent rivers of lava streaming through the outskirts of the city of the Goma,
killing at least 31 people and making 20,000 homeless, according to United Nations figures. The state of siege also failed to prevent the killing of at least 55 people by rebel fighters on Monday, potentially the worst night of violence the area has seen in at least four years. On the Wednesday, 11 miners in the gold-rich territory of Djugu,
in the northeastern province of the Ituri, were also killed by local group, Patriotic Force and Integrationist of the Congo (FPIC), the Mungwalu district mayor Jean-Pierre Pikilisende told the media. JP Pikilisende said the rebel fighters had come to take control over the area, whose gold is also mined by poor artisanal diggers. The Kivu Security Tracker (KST), a respected NGO that monitors violence also in eastern DRC, said 12 people had been executed.