News

    Aid Group Says Unrest Makes Eastern DRC Operations Unsafe

    A woman is treated at the central hospital after a series of explosions destroyed homes and buildings in the Mpila neighborhood of Congo Republic's capital Brazzaville, March 5, 2012.
    A woman is treated at the central hospital after a series of explosions destroyed homes and buildings in the Mpila neighborhood of Congo Republic's capital Brazzaville, March 5, 2012.

    The medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, says an increase in the number of armed conflicts and troop movements in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are hampering its operations there.

    Cyril Bertrand, operational coordinator for MSF Belgium, tells VOA that rising violence and crime within the past few months have made it more and more difficult to get medical aid to those who need it.

    “Last week we faced harassment and two of our colleagues were kidnapped near Nyanzale," said Bertrand. "Before, by the end of 2011, we faced an incident as well in Masisi. At that time, one expatriate was injured by gunshots.”

    According to the group’s statement, released Thursday, the aid agency’s teams have been exposed to more than 15 acts of violence since last November, among the most serious being a raid last week on an MSF house in Baraka in South Kivu province, carried out by armed men in uniform.

    Typically, food, money, and mobile telephones are stolen, mostly to supply the military, says the group.

    Bertrand says it is the people living in North and South Kivu who bear the brunt of the violence’s consequences.

    “The teams have been evacuated from many places, because we cannot work in a safe situation," said Bertrand. "We had to evacuate five places since last week.”

    The group has suspended its activities in Nyanzale, reduced programs in Rutshuru, and recalled its team from the Butembo area.

    The statement says local populations are too afraid to come to clinics or even to cultivate in the fields, as people are commonly robbed, forced to carry armed men’s bags, and sometimes kidnapped.

    The latest volatility is due mainly to mass defections of former rebels from the Congolese army. The defecting soldiers are loyal to former rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Last month, the ICC convicted Ntaganda’s boss, Thomas Lubanga, for using child soldiers.

    The rebels, who had been integrated into the Congolese army in an earlier peace deal, have taken ammunition and other military equipment with them as they flee their units, committing crimes and violence along the way.

    On Wednesday, President Joseph Kabila said he is seeking Ntaganda's arrest, though he said the former rebel leader would be tried in Congo rather than handed over to the ICC.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.