Friday, November 13, 2009

Democratic Republic of Congo army “used aid as bait”

The aid agency of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)- Doctors Without Borders- says that DR Congo used vaccination clinics as “bait” to attack civilians. Thousand of Hutu’s were targeted when they came over to the clinic in the area controlled by rebels to get vaccine for measles. MSF calls this attack in North Kivu as “an abuse of human action.” On Monday the UN withdrew its support of the government army because its soldiers are accused of killing 62 civilians.

MFS said that the clinics are targeted even after security promises from all sides. The immunization is carried out in the Maisisi district, north-west of the city of Goma. MFS operates with the support of the Ministry of Health, whose workers are not able to access this region because it is controlled by the Hutu rebel group FDLR. Luis Encinas, head of MSF in Central Africa, feels that they are being used as bait. “How will MSF be perceived by the population now? Will our patients still feel safe enough to come for medical care?” Charities operating in DR Congo with the support of the UN are concerned with this targeting of the civilians. The Congolese government suspended military action in this area to conduct an investigation into UN accusations of government soldiers killing civilians.

Since January 2009 the UN has been helping the Congolese army to battle the FDLR. These rebels have been at the heart of the unrest in this area, fighting with the local Tutsi population and government troops. FDLR leaders fled to this are in 1994 after being accused of taking part in Rwanda’s genocide.

Imagine going to your local Health Department for your kid’s vaccination. While you are there, the US military arrives and starts shooting at you. The chances of this sort of “horror” equal to zero! We are so blessed to live in a country where we know we are safe when we go to a hospital. But many countries in Africa do not have such a simple guarantee when they venture out of their huts in the morning. Their lives can be taken from them just for being from a different tribe either from the rebel forces or the government army.

No comments:

Post a Comment