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DRC: Médecin Sans Frontières (MSF) calls for respect for medical centers after attack on Ituri hospital- March 09, 2024

09/03/2024
Geneva, Switzerland

Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) has called for the protection of patients, medical facilities and civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo after the looting of the Drodro hospital in Ituri, in the north-east of the country.
Since the attack, MSF has temporarily evacuated its staff from the town, but its teams continue to provide care and water and sanitation services to people sheltered in the Rho IDP camp, located around 10 km northeast of Drodro.
“What has happened is simply horrific,” said Stéphanie Giandonato, program manager in the DRC for MSF, whose teams were working in this hospital, in a statement.
In a new escalation of violence in Ituri province, “armed men attacked the town of Drodro on the night of March 6-7, killing a patient in her bed, looting the general hospital and stealing medical equipment”, says MSF, pointing out that the assailants also looted another nearby medical facility.

“We condemn the murder of a defenseless patient in the strongest possible terms and urge all parties to the conflict to respect and protect patients, medical staff, health facilities, civilians and humanitarian workers,” says Giandonato.
Earlier in the week, Pilo Mulindro, head of the Bahema Nord chiefdom, where Drodro is located, had reported that militiamen from Codeco (Cooperative for the Development of Congo), an armed group claiming to defend the interests of the Lendu tribe, had attacked Drodro “in revenge” for the alleged murder of a member of their community.
According to an internal report by Monusco (the UN mission in the DRC), the attack was launched in retaliation for the “murder of a Lendu by the Zaire armed group (Codeco’s rival group, affiliated to the Hema tribe)”.
The upsurge in violence in and around Drodro led to mass flight in the area, with thousands seeking refuge at the Rho camp. According to MSF, the camp, originally designed to accommodate a maximum of 30,000 people, is now home to more than double that number.
MSF fears that, as insecurity worsens and supplies run out, the situation may no longer be sustainable.

“We are concerned that the population’s access to basic necessities such as drinking water, food and medical care is threatened,” says Boubacar Mballo, MSF project coordinator in Drodro.

Humaniterre, humanitarian and sustainable development media
Agence France-Presse

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