As fighting in the Kivu provinces in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is making the headlines, the neighbouring district of Haut Uele is also affected by violence. Rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) are terrorizing people, looting, burning villages, abducting children and killing adults. A Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team visited the town of Dungu, which was attacked by the rebels on Nov. 1, to assess the needs of the population. Following this visit an MSF team set up an assistance program for displaced people on Nov. 10. M. comes from Bangadi, 125 kilometres from Dungu where he took refuge. He describes the LRA rebels’ brutal attack on his village. Looting, destruction, abductions, murders; the civilian population is spared nothing. It is nearly midnight on Sun., Oct. 19 when the warning bell rings alerting people to the presence of a group of unknown individuals in the village. The LRA’s armed men, coming out of hiding after crossing Napopo, enter Bangadi at night. It is 5 a.m. when the first shots ring out in Bafuka, the area where I live. A neighbour confirms that it is indeed the LRA. I must move quickly as I must take care of my family and of everything we have too. First I order my children to lie on the ground in the hut. However, as gunfire is getting closer I lead all my family to the forest. My neighbour advises me to save whatever can be saved from the hut; he helps me do so. We crawl back to the hut for fear of being spotted and manage to take and hide the motorbike, the TV set and our clothing in the banana plantation as bullets are still whistling past us. In the meantime looting goes on at the Charismatic Renewal Ministry. A student from the Bafuka Institute is shot and dies three hours later. Mr. George, a teacher, is also shot and killed. After looting the area and ordering the kidnapped to carry their booty the group moves on to Kumbari, another area of Bangadi. The whole operation has taken a mere 45 minutes. What can we do now? We have no choice but to flee. They will certainly come back. Sadly, my uncle dies during the attack and I have to bury him before leaving. Therefore, I can only evacuate my family by bicycle to Niangara the following day. We arrive in Niangara the day after that and we spend the night at a friend’s house. Finally, we reach Dungu on Saturday. We now stay there without any belonging at the compound of the Wando Institute’s professors. One of my colleagues who joined us later told me what he saw before fleeing:
“It was total mayhem, one had to run away”
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