Our Observer Alain Wandimovi recently visited the Mugunga refugee camp in North Kivu, a northwestern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the end of April, the Congolese military has been deployed throughout North Kivu to track down army deserters who are loyal to rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda. Our Observer saw thousands of refugees who lost everything when the cla forced them to flee their homes. Today, all they want is to go back to their villages to save their crops.
Former rebels from the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) became part of the national army three years ago. However, at the end of April, they deserted. Criticising President Joseph Kabila for not respecting the treaties that were signed in 2009 regarding their integration into the army, these disaffected soldiers now support the former head of the CNDP, Bosco Ntaganda
, who is currently on the run. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court, which has accused him of committing war crimes during the armed conflicts that ravaged eastern Congo in 2002 and 2003. The Congolese military believe that Bosco Ntaganda ordered those loyal to him to desert.
Photo caption: In the last few days, the Congolese authorities, alongside aid organisations such as the UN Refugee Agency, the World Food Programme and Caritas, have been handing out medicine and food parcels to Mugunga’s refugees.
The Mugunga camp is located several kilometres west of Goma, the capital of North Kivu. The camp has existed ever since this region got caught up in the conflicts between armed groups and other African countries, principally Rwanda and Uganda, over twenty years ago.
All photos were taken by our Observer, Alain Wandimoyi.