from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – IN an unprecedented development, a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has allowed humanitarian organisations access to regions in which the militia operates.
The commitment by the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS), which operates in the northeast, follows dialogue with local communities and a Switzerland non-governmental organisation (NGO).
APCLS is traditionally active in Masisi territory and is considered one of the largest ethnic militia groups operating in the North Kivu province.
Geneva Call, the NGO, initiated sustained dialogue that saw the rebel group commit to enabling humanitarian organisations access for a year.
“The group commits to facilitating access to humanitarian organisations wanting to work within their remit,” said a spokesperson of the NGO.
Dialogue followed a drastic deterioration of access conditions for humanitarian workers in the province, where abductions, hold-ups, thefts and attacks have been rife.
This has been one of the major hindrances in curbing the deadly Ebola outbreak currently plaguing the DRC.
In addition to the breakthrough, Geneva Call has also obtained a commitment from some local communities to facilitate access for NGOs and accompany them in their work.
Some communities have since the outbreak last year resisted the entry of humanitarian organisations that are working to eradicate Ebola.
About 2 000 people have died from Ebola epidemic.
– CAJ News