A soldier from the regular army near the town of Sake, in North Kivu, on Monday. Photo by our Observer, Alain Wandimoyi.
For about a month now, rebel soldiers have been wreaking havoc in North Kivu, a province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo that had already been ravaged by years of war. Our Observer, a photographer who is currently about 10 kilometres away from the frontline separating the rebel soldiers from the regular army, shares his images of a crisis taking place far away from the eyes of the world.
In early April, a group of soldiers from the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) – a militia present in North Kivu since 2003 and that joined forces with the regular army in 2009 – decided to desert. The deserters claim
that the country’s president, Joseph Kabila, “did not respect agreements between the government and the CNDP concerning reforms to the Congolese army.” The rebels, of whom there are several hundred, are led by general Bosco Ntaganda
, the former chief of the CNDP. Ntaganda, who is also known as “the Terminator,” has been wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2006 for enlisting child soldiers. The court plans to issue a new warrant for his arrest; this time he is accused of raping and murdering, both while he was leading the CNDP and after it was integrated into the regular army in 2009.
Over the past week and a half, the rebels and the regular army have repeatedly clashed. On Sunday, a particularly violent battle took place in the region of Masisi, which was occupied by the CNDP in the past, and which the rebels have now reclaimed parts of. According to the United Nations
, nearly 5,000 people, mostly women, children, and the elderly, have already fled the region.
All photos were taken by our Observer Alain Wandimoyi and published on his blog.
Civilians and soldiers hitting the road, near Sake.
The province of North Kivu, which shares borders with Uganda and Rwanda, is rich in minerals, notably copper, diamonds, and coltan
, a mineral used to manufacture mobile phones. For over two decades now, the region has been ravaged by battles between various parties trying to gain control of these precious resources.