Thursday, May 23, 2024

At least seven children killed in attacks on refugee camps in Congo


People gathered at the scene of an explosion in a refugee camp in Mugunga on the outskirts of Goma on Friday. Photo: Moses Sawasawa / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 05/03/2024 22:03:58

War and conflicts: It is currently unclear what kind of explosive charges were used in the attacks or who was behind them.

The Rwandan-backed rebel group M23 has in recent months moved closer to Goma, which has caused several thousand to seek refuge in the city.

The UN’s emergency aid office sources in the health care and security forces state that twelve civilians were killed and a further 31 wounded when three explosions were triggered on Friday morning at several camps near Goma.

A civil society leader in Goma, Marrion Ngavho, gives a higher figure and says that there were three bombs that exploded.

– We have already registered 13 dead, among them women and children. There are also around 30 wounded, she says.

The attack here happened near a busy market inside the overcrowded camp outside Goma.

– What happened today is yet another grim reminder that the Congo is still one of the most dangerous places for children, and that the children and the most vulnerable are hit hardest by this crisis, says Save the Children country director Greg Ramm.

Congo’s government accuses M23 of being behind Friday’s attack. Opposition leaders condemn the incident and call on the international community to support Congo and respond to Rwanda’s military intervention in the country. Congo’s government, the UN and Western countries have repeatedly accused Rwanda of supporting M23. Rwanda denies this.

The UN estimated at the end of 2023 that almost seven million have been displaced in the Congo, of which 2.5 million in North Kivu where Goma is located.

Dedesi Mitima, the head of the Lac Vert district, says he has seen the bodies of seven children and two men in a refugee camp. Several are injured, and the death toll may rise further, he adds.

Save the Children say they have received reports suggesting up to 40 people were killed in Friday’s attack, which prompted aid workers to temporarily evacuate the Lushagala camp. Many others are injured.

Doctors Without Borders in Congo condemns what they describe as the increasing use of heavy artillery in the immediate vicinity of the refugee camps around Goma.

(© NTB)


© Jaun News English