(2018) Rutshuru’s displaced are among 4.5 million people currently uprooted by conflict in DRC - the highest number since the beginning of the Congo wars two decades ago.
For the past two years, whole swathes of Rutshuru and Lubero, two territories in eastern Congo’s North Kivu Province, have been reeling from an inter-communal conflict that is – even by the country’s standards of what has been dubbed the “world’s most neglected crisis” – flying under the radar.
Factions of two militias – the Nyatura and the Mai-Mai Mazembe – that claim to defend different ethnic groups have been burning houses, killing civilians, and dividing communities along ethnic lines. Media reports mention around 100 killings over the past couple of years, though many more go unreported. Frequent kidnappings, attacks on aid workers, and challenging conditions for those attempting to document the conflict mean there has been little attention paid to the issue..
The violence is one among a series of localised conflicts that have embroiled Congo following President Joseph Kabila’s failure to organise elections and leave office in December 2016 when his second (and constitutionally mandated final) term expired. (Text by Phillip Kleinfeld)