Local NGOs operating in Minembwe region of South Kivu where up to 55,000 Banyamulenge are displaced say they are unable to deliver much-needed aid.
In the past week, via separate social media posts, the NGOs claim to have supplies. However, their pleas to UN forces in DR Congo MONUSCO to transport the aid was received with demands for payment from MONUSCO ground officials.
Tens of thousands of Banyamulenge have abandoned their homes, and entire villages razed around Mulenge, north of Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province. The displaced are said to be converged in a small locality Minembwe. Their property, and their much-prized cattle, looted.
The Banyamulenge have since 2018 been in raging battles with other tribal militias. The conflict has been complicated by involvement of regional geopolitical interests.
With the latest accusations against MONUSCO, the Banyamulenge-alligned NGOs are reinforcing their longstanding position that the UN is aiding and abetting in their slaughter.
In a statement on Sunday, MONUSCO denied the allegations coming from Mulenge NGOs. The embattled UN body calls the NGOs raising such complaints as “extremists”.
It said: “MONUSCO strongly rejects accusations by some NGOs alleging that the Mission ask for money to transport assistance to IDPs in Minembwe, in South Kivu, DRC. MONUSCO never ask for money for any assistance transportation.”
“MONUSCO is daily approached by NGOs of religious inspiration to transport assistance to Minembwe (that include Mikenge and Bijombo), mostly presenting Mikenge’s IDPs as potential beneficiaries. NGOs are instead directed to UNOCHA which coordinates humanitarian assistance.”
“Every day, there are accusations of partiality emanating from extremists’ constituencies from each side of the conflict in Minembwe, essentially due to refusal of MONUSCO to take side or undertake any action specifically in favor of one group.”