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DRC Fighting Has Effects Far From Conflict Zone


The World Council of Churches (WCC) says any solution to the crisis in eastern DRC must also take into account other regions of the country.

Provinces bordering conflict areas have received many displaced people, it says. The influx has often resulted in resentment and violence, even though the displaced are fellow Congolese.

Nigussu Legesse, World Council of Churches program executive for Africa, spoke from Geneva about the WCC delegations sent to the DRC, known as "Living Letters."

"We went to DRC, but divided into five different groups because we had to visit different parts of the country…. So my group went to the…central province of Kasai (Oriental) and the western province of Bas Congo," he says.

Neglect leads to hatred

"One of the problems the local people in…Bas Congo mentioned to us was that they have been totally neglected by their own government, as well as the international community," he says.

He says they blame that on the flood of displaced people fleeing fighting in the east.

"So there is hatred. Hatred has developed even to the extent of coming to violence. This is what they told us," he says.

Some of the violence is blamed on higher unemployment.

"This is a major problem because every time the refugees are coming there's not enough food, no humanitarian support. There aren't even many NGOs from what we also observed," he says.

The WCC official says besides food, people in Kasai oriental and Bas Congo provinces need farming tools and other humanitarian support. He also says local governments need more support to cope with the influx of people from the eastern DRC.

The information gathered by the "Living Letters" groups, says Legesse, will be presented to aid agencies and international donors.


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