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Friday, October 31, 2008

DRC- Congo- Kivu Region- Catholic Relief Services pulls two relif workers out of country. Only grass roots organizations like Caritas Internationalis still easily operate in wartorn region

(Social Justice South Africa; c.f. Catholic News Service 30/10/08; Caritas Internationalis 30/10/08; BBC World News (Secular) 29/10/08)

Article by Marc Aupiais

Catholic Relief Services has pulled two relief workers out of the DRC into neighboring Rwanda- due to unsafe conditions of operation, however they claim this is an isolated event, and not a general withdrawal. The Relief workers can't wait to get back to the CRS headquarters in the southern Congo, where the organization's efforts are based.

In recent days a UN peace-keeper helicopter was shot at, purportedly, if UN sources quoted by the BBC (29/10/08) are to be taken as accurate- not by rebels, but by Rwandan troops, and DRC troops have been noted as shooting across the border when they saw weapons fire. The BBC's representation- noted exchanges of fire. Rwanda denies involvement in the conflict. Rebels however claim to have a purpose of fighting Rwanda's own claimed rebels they claim to be in the Congo. We cannot verify any of these claims, by the Rebels.


Caritas Internationalis is appealing for an end to violence. After a recent cease fire called for by rebel forces, and a UN condemnation of rebel activities, as rebels have attacked UN troops- there was still the sounds of gunfire under the shadows of the dark African night.

Caritas Internationalis needs better conditions to ensure 16 000 persons who they are supplying with food necessities get this. Other organizations, including Catholic Relief Services, are appealing western governments to intervene diplomatically. Much of the important work on the ground, however- is still being done by Caritas Internationalis, whose use of local grassroots people has enabled them to continue operations where some other organizations have needed to reassess the aid they are giving. Both Catholic Relief Services, who are appealing for US diplomatic support, and Development and Peace (who are asking the Canadian government for intervention), plan to use Caritas Internationalis in order to supply needs in the Goma Region, where Caritas has structures still in place.

Sites of those mentioned for their aid of efforts:

Caritas Internationalis
Catholic Reflief Services
Development and Peace

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