LAST week Human Rights Watch and the New York University-based Congo Research Group just launched a new Kivu Security Tracker to plot the trouble wreaked by non-state actors and the Congolese armed forces.
Nearly at the same time news broke that an armed group in North Kivu last Thursday committed one of the deadliest attacks ever on UN peacekeepers – killing at least 14 and wounding more than 50 others – a grim way to underline that there is so much violence in eastern Congo that you now need an app to keep up.
According to the tracker, there are more than 120 armed groups operating in the region. From June to November this year, at least 526 civilians were killed and 1,087 abducted or kidnapped for ransom. There were also at least 11 incidents of mass rape. And these are just the documented incidents. One consequence of the violence is mass displacement. About a million new people were made homeless in the first half of this year, on top of 922,000 in 2016.
Cumulatively, an estimated 3.2 million people are desperately short of food. In addition to an imminent story on the latest attack in North Kivu, which also killed five Congolese soldiers and dozens of Islamist rebel fighters.