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AFRICA/DR CONGO - "We are tired of the impunity of guerrillas": protest of civil society in northern Kivu who call for greater security

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Posted on: 09/16/17
Kinshasa - Some "dead city days" in Beni and Butembo to protest the insecurity that persists in the area due to the presence of numerous armed groups. Civil society in Butembo demands the resignation of the mayor and Butembo's urban security committee, who are accused of not protecting the population.
"Armed groups that have been operating in our region have been present for several years and in all these years have never been seriously hunted by law enforcement", said to Radio Okapi Polycarpe Ndivito, President of the Congo Federation Companies of Butembo and Lubero . Ndvito, amongst the promoters of the protest, also underlined the impunity enjoyed by armed groups acting in the region, who have taken advantage of the dialogue offered by the government, not to integrate into the social fabric, but to gain greater freedom of action.
Among the armed groups in North Kivu there are the ADF , the FDLR and various local groups that exploit ethnic rivalry to recruit young people.
Beyond political reasons, these groups are moved by economic interest. The North Kivu area is rich in natural resources, from coltan to tin, from timber to gold, which are being robbed by militants and then exported with the complicity of foreign companies.
Local civil society seeks to oppose violence by resorting to peaceful protest forms, such as "dead city days" with shops, public offices, and schools that remain closed. On July 20 three days of "dead city" were proclaimed by civil society in Beni to demand the liberation of Fr. Pierre Akilimali and Don Charles Kipasa, two Congolese priests who were abducted in the night between Sunday 16 and Monday 17 July . Nothing is known about the fate of the two priests.


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