As we walked up the side of the slope to what would become our medical clinic, we saw a variety of huts dotting the hillside across the road – this was an IDP (Indigenously Displaced Persons) Camp. There were makeshift huts, children in tattered clothes, and many older people struggling to make their way up the hill with canes and crutches made from tree branches. These people had become a community because of the ravages of war. Many were moved here from parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that were hundreds of miles away because there was nothing left of their homes and property.
Bweso IDP Camp
That was in October of 2011, and now we have received word that the political unrest is again brewing in the Eastern part of Congo where our partner’s ministry is located. People were just starting to rebuild their lives after the last major round of fighting that ended almost three years ago. This battle is complicated, but basically it started as a result of the International Court requesting Ntaganda Bosco stand trial for killing UN soldiers. Hearing of his imminent arrest, he fled to the Masisi Mountains and called the ex CNDP army to join him. This rekindled fighting with the government and has resulted in many people again fleeing North Kivu Province. There are a few shelters within the city of Goma, but most are in deplorable condition.
Many of the people have been displaced to Southern Kivu – in the first quarter of this year alone it is estimated that almost a quarter of a million people have fled to this area. In Rwanda, the country to the east, 55,000 had fled prior to this latest round of fighting which resulted in an additional 8,200 refugees crossing the border. Additionally, people are fleeing into Uganda where approximately 30,000 fled in the last 30 days. Conditions do not seem to be improving – since the elections in November of 2011 over 2 million people have either been displaced or fled for fear of the violence.
Our partner continues to reach out to these displaced people offering them comfort through the Gospel and assisting with basic needs of food, clothing and bedding whenever possible. We would ask that you pray for protection for the people and that the Gospel would bring comfort and peace to the displaced during this time of battle. We know the Lord’s ways are not our ways, and He can use this turmoil to bring glory to Him. We praise our partner for pressing on during the hard times, knowing that the Gospel will give the people the hope they need to endure the battle.