DR Congo will shun a donor conference aimed at raising billions in aid, saying the country is being given a ‘bad image’. Protracted and escalating violence has displaced some 5 million people in the country.
For those who have fled their homes, the crisis in DR Congo is very real. “It’s like when we had the civil war,” said one Congolese man, referring to a period of intense violence that ravaged the northeastern province of Ituri between 1999 and 2003. He is one of an estimated 50,000 people who have escaped the recent surge of ethnic conflict in Ituri since January by fleeing across Lake Albert into neighboring Uganda.
The deadly fighting isn’t restricted to Ituri — home to long-simmering conflicts over land and mineral wealth. It’s also spilled into provinces previously thought to be stable, such as Kasai and Tanganyika.
Adding to the misery is the political crisis surrounding President Joseph Kabila that doesn’t look like it’s ending any time soon. Kabila’s mandate officially ended in December 2016 but he has stayed on in power, saying it’s impossible to hold elections amid the fighting. Elections to replace Kabila are repeatedly postponed. Widespread protests against Kabila’s failure to step down have been met with deadly violence.