May 21, 2020
The United States condemns the recent increase in brutal violence by cowardly and vicious armed groups in Ituri province. Over the past month, armed groups have committed barbaric acts against innocent civilians, including women and children. Reports of calls for reprisals and forming militias, which would further raise tensions, are worrying. This wave of violence has caused tens of thousands to flee their homes in Ituri province, which now hosts over 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). These attacks and violence must stop and those responsible held to account.
The United States, through the Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, provides life-saving food assistance for hundreds of thousands of Congolese in Ituri and supports 15 local health facilities, providing free health services to thousands of IDPs and their host families. In addition, the United States, through USAID, supplies emergency housing and supports water and sanitation services to thousands of displaced households throughout the province.
We support the Tshisekedi administration’s commitment to bring peace to the eastern DRC. We urge that DRC government and military to intensify their efforts to end the cycle of violence in the region with support from local communities, civil society, and MONUSCO. It is also necessary to ensure safe access for humanitarian support for IDPs throughout the province.
We were dismayed to learn that a LUCHA member was killed today during a demonstration against the rise in insecurity in eastern DRC. We note that police officers that may have been responsible have been detained and expect there will be an appropriate investigation and that anyone found guilty of wrongdoing will be held accountable.