News release

Democratic Republic of the Congo: ICRC concerned by violence against civilians in North Kivu

Geneva/Kinshasa (ICRC) – Following two deadly attacks that took place in the cities of Béni and Eringeti, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has transferred 14 casualties by air to Goma's Ndosho Hospital.

"We are extremely worried by the nature and extent of the recent violence, which is afflicting people already hard hit by years of armed conflict," said Alessandra Menegon, head of the ICRC delegation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "These attacks against civilians are a serious infringement of the most basic principles of humanity. They must stop."

The northern part of North Kivu province has been the scene of a number of such attacks, the most violent of which have taken place in the past few days. Since 11 October, according to the authorities, the attacks have claimed the lives of 80 people, including women and children, and resulted in a further 19 people suffering serious injury.

"The Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo acted swiftly to recover mortal remains," said Arnaud Meffre, head of the ICRC office in Béni. An ICRC surgical team working at the hospital in Goma has treated 16 war-wounded patients. In an effort to provide support for other health-care facilities in the area, the ICRC has given the general hospital in Béni enough surgical and other medical supplies to treat up to 50 war-injured people, and it has given Oïcha's general hospital bandages and oral medications needed to stabilize war casualties. To help Congolese Red Cross volunteers carry out the difficult task of handling mortal remains, the ICRC has provided them with 40 body bags, 200 pairs of disposable gloves, 10 reusable masks, 10 kilograms of chlorine and financial support to defray the cost of fuel.

In North and South Kivu since the beginning of the year, the ICRC has taken over 290 people wounded in fighting to treatment facilities and has itself provided treatment for more than 550; in addition, it has provided medications and medical supplies for nine health-care centres and four referral general hospitals to enable local health-care personnel to cope with medical emergencies.

For further information, please contact:
Elodie Schindler, ICRC Goma, tel: +243 81 700 77 86
Patrick Megevand, ICRC Kinshasa, tel: +243 81 700 85 36
Marie-Servane Desjonquères, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 574 06 36