A top DRC provincial official has appealed for international assistance for the 30,000 internally-displaced households currently resident in Kasese, 125 km from Punia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The appeal was made Tuesday by the Maniema provincial governor, Pascal Tutu Salumu, who said that the condition of the displaced persons, predominantly women and children, was very serious and called for urgent attention.
According to Salumu, the affected people are in dire need of food aid and medical care. Most of them have fled the clashes in Punia involving the DRC regular army and militia men belonging to the insurgency group, the self-defence forces of Raia Mutomboki, who had captured the town.
After dislodging the Raia Mutomboki militants on 17 February from the city of Punia, the regular forces launched a counter offensive last weekend against the militants in the mining city of Kasese which they had occupied for 10 days.
The DRC regular army regained the city without any resistance from the militants who had fled to other mining sites and into the forest.
PANA recalls that the Raia Mutomboki militants have persistently raided the position of the DRC army which they accuse of abusing the local populations in that region.
The local civil society members in that region have campaigned ceaselessly to lure the militants into dropping their weapons in order to bring peace and stability to the region.