More than 40 schools in Watalinga Chiefdom in Beni territory in North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have remained for the last two months due to insecurity caused by the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a local non-profit Christian organization in the area has revealed.
Community of Christian Churches in Africa (in French: Communauté Évangélique au Centre de l’Afrique) CECA, says that the paralysis of operations at the affected schools was caused by repeated atrocities by the rebels against locals.
Jean-Marc Baraka, the coordinator CECA in the region, says that affected schools are in the localities of Nobili, Kikingi, Ndama, Kombo, Bambausu, Luanoli, Matolu, Bundiguya, Gogo, Kikura, Musololo, Kasangali, Mpoku, Bovatha, Mulopya, Bugando, Gawa, Mbimba and Kamango.
Baraka says that courses and subjects have been on halt for the last two months. Baraka says that following the repeated attacks by the rebels, teachers, and learners fled areas to the neighbouring Butembo and others crossed to the Ugandan side.
The head of the subdivision of Kamango, Gabriel Kizadilo Bantuki admits that he has personally confirmed about 20 schools in Kamango closed and teachers and learners fled to other localities for their safety.
Maj Gen Leon-Richard Kasonga Cibangu, the spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chief of General Staff, General Mbala Munsense who are currently camping in Beni territory calls for calm saying that whatever their origin and nature, the ADF rebels will be tracked down and eradicated completely.
According to Munsense and Kasonga, all the ADF rebels’ strongholds have been conquered and recovered by the government army. They emphasize that 161 localities in Beni territory have been recovered from rebels’ hands.
However, several towns in Watalinga and Bambuba-Kisiki in the territory of Beni and Walese Vonkutu in Ituri, are still shaken by repeated attacks carried out by the ADF rebels, something that caused a massive displacement of locals towards other supposedly secure environments.