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Saturday, October 22, 2016
Aid reaches victims of Bunia massacre
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¬†CAFOD's partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo have flown eight tonnes of medical supplies into Bunia to help the victims of the recent massacres in the town. They have also set up an emergency taskforce made up of Caritas Congo, Caritas Goma and Caritas Bunia. Caritas is the worldwide global network of Catholic Aid Agencies. The emergency taskforce is already working in a camp of 40,000 people in Muhito, eight miles north of Bunia and is planning to expand its operation to provide food and shelter for the thousands of displaced people who fled their homes in terror over the last few weeks. CAFOD's Programme Officer for the Region, Antonio Cabral, said: "It is very dangerous in Bunia and there is a real fear that the situation could develop into another genocide. The whole region is on a knife-edge. Caritas staff have been doing everything they can to help the wounded and the homeless despite being in grave danger themselves. They were forced flee for their lives along with the population of the town when armed militia massacred innocent civilians. People are slowly returning to their homes but many of them have been destroyed in the fighting and they have no food or shelter." The fighting between rival ethnic groups in the town erupted last month after Ugandan troops withdrew as a part of a peace deal in the country, which has been ravaged by civil war for the last 5 years. During that time its estimated that three million people have been killed. "Our partners say that there could be further mass killings if an international peace keeping force is not deployed as soon as possible - it is literally a matter of life and death", added Antonio Cabral. The UN has approved the deployment of a multi-national rapid reaction force but it is crucial that it is translated into troops on the ground as soon as possible. Head Emergencies at CAFOD, Matthew Carter said: "The UN must act now and honour their commitment to peacekeeping around the world. The member states must provide the funding; the troops and the necessary logistical support to protect the people of the Congo not just in Bunia but throughout the whole country". CAFOD have issued an emergency grant of £25,000 to the emergency and will be monitoring the situation closely.
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