• Armed violence intensifies in former Katanga province

    Latest update: 13/10/2016

    Probability

    Highly unlikely Highly likely

    Outlook for September 2016 – February 2017

    Former Katanga, now separated into four provinces: Lualaba, Haut-Lomami, Tanganyika, and Haut-Katanga  

    The DRC government’s actions to keep President Kabila in power threaten national cohesion and stability. In the coming months, the crisis is likely to manifest itself into greater instability and armed violence in the former Katanga province, as the Katangan elite mobilise armed groups for their political ends. Inter-ethnic clashes between the Luba and Twa communities are likely to intensify in the territory bounded by the towns of Manono, Mitwaba, and Pweto.

    President Kabila’s fortunes are very much tied to the stability and prosperity of Katanga, with a significant proportion of DRC’s political elite hailing from the former province. Kabila is a Katangan native, and Katangans currently hold eight of 37 ministerial posts, including the strategic and lucrative ministries of infrastructure, mines, and finance.

    But the stability of the region is in doubt: Katangans are convinced that national power should remain in their hands, and their frustration with Kabila is growing, leading to dangerous polarisation. Some are aggrieved at the perceived failure to return to the region a fair share of the wealth it generates. If the Katangan elite cannot keep control of resources by maintaining its grip on central power, it will push to hold on to more resources at the provincial level: according to the constitution, Katanga should retain 40% of the national revenue it generates, but the government has only every remitted a tiny proportion of this requirement. 

    Tensions have been fuelled by the politicised implementation of decentralisation. Katanga has been separated into four provinces, which is fostering competing individual ambitions and strengthening the perception that the north, in particular, is being neglected. Kabila holds strong Luba support, as well as a base in the southern Lualaba province.  

    In addition, Katumbi, President Kabila’s main political opponent, is a former governor of Katanga. The DRC government increased repression and augmented its military presence in the province after Katumbi left the ruling majority in 2014 and expressed his opposition to Kabila remaining in power. In May, when Katumbi announced he would run for the presidency, a warrant was put out for his arrest, and so far at least 27 of his associates have been arrested in Lubumbashi.

    Politicians are feeding the sentiments of armed groups in the region, and using armed groups to apply pressure to the central government. The Bakata Katanga is an armed network that claims to defend the region against exploitation by Kinshasa, and it reportedly has ties with small secessionist organisations. Both local and international actors consider that the Bakata Katanga receives significant support from certain DRC officials at the local, provincial, and national levels, some of whom hold genuine secessionist views, while others see the Bakata Katanga as an insurance policy in the eventuality that President Kabila remains in power.

    In recent months, the Bakata Katanga has been active in Mitwaba, attacking, and burning down Twa villages. Interethnic conflict between the Twa (pygmy) and Luba has persisted since 2013, and concentrated in the ‘triangle of death’. Since August, clashes between Twa and Luba communities have intensified in Tanganyika. It is not known what first sparked the hostilities, but many analysts have pointed to the longstanding marginalisation of the Twa throughout Central Africa.

    The situation is further complicated by armed groups that usually operate in Nord-Kivu and South-Kivu, whose presence in Katanga is increasing, attracted by the region’s resources. Mayi-Mayi Yakutumba and the FDLR (Forces démocratiques pour la liberation du Rwanda) operate in Tanganyika province, areas of Haut-Katanga, and Haut-Lomami.

    Predicted developments

    Katangan elites are expected to mobilise armed groups and networks for their political ends

    Katangan elites are expected to mobilise armed groups and networks for their political ends, leading to an intensification of armed violence in the region. The Bakata Katanga will likely increase activities. Violence between the armed forces of the DRC (FARDC) and Bakata Katanga is expected, and will most likely be concentrated in the Shamwana/Kishale area, and around the ‘triangle of death’. The activities of other armed groups, including the FDLR and the Mayi Mayi Yakutumba, will also increase.

    Inter-ethnic tensions are likely to escalate in the former province
    Inter-ethnic tensions are likely to escalate. The Bakata Katanga are likely to launch more attacks on Twa civilians, which will escalate tensions between Luba and Twa. In recent months, Twa have faced discrimination from other ethnic groups in the area. Clashes between Twa and Luba will likely be concentrated around Tanganyika and the ‘triangle of death.’ Existing tensions between the richer and poorer parts of Katanga are also likely to intensify.

    Impact

    Armed clashes will likely lead to civilian casualties as well as grave human rights violations such as rape and mutilation by armed groups and the FARDC.?Women and children who collect water from remote sources are likely to face the risk of abuse and violence by militias and armed groups.

    A large number of children are expected to face severe acute malnutrition. From 2011 to 2014, armed group activity in the former Katanga was particularly high, and in 2014, an estimated 75,000 children in the Katanga conflict zone faced severe acute malnutrition.?Bukama territory in Haut-Lomami is likely to show signs of serious nutritional crisis: in 2014, severe acute malnutrition reached 4.8% after violence escalated.? The nutritional status of children under five, and pregnant and lactating women, will most likely exceed emergency thresholds in Manono, Malemba, Nulu, Kambove Nyunzu and Kabalo.?

    Armed violence is likely to disrupt access to clean water and sanitation services, and to damage already poor infrastructure, constraining access to clean water in Lubumbashi and other urban centres. Citizens will have to fetch untreated water from rivers and open wells, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases.?

    An intensification of armed violence in former Katanga will likely affect school enrolment. In 2014, over 49 schools were destroyed or burned during violence in the former province, and many children had to flee their communities.? Schools in the area will most likely be used to host IDPs, affecting the ability of children to attend school.

    Lack of infrastructure is already hindering humanitarian access. The upcoming rainy season (October–June) will further degrade main roads between Lubumbashi (Tanganyika) and Mitwaba (Haut-Katanga), and Lubumbashi and Bukama (Haut-Lomami), and around Pweto (Haut-Katanga).??Escalation of violence in Katanga is also likely to prompt evacuations of humanitarian staff. Humanitarian access will be likely hampered in towns should airports or major roads be closed due to armed clashes. Armed clashes will also hinder the ability of affected populations to access basic services.

    A large wave of displacement is expected once fighting breaks out in former Katanga. When violence escalated over 2011–2014,  IDP numbers in Katanga rose from 50,000 to 500,000. The displaced usually fled with few belongings and their needs were high.? Urban displacement is likely to be temporary and occur only in case of intensive clashes in urban centres. Flooding during the October-June season, is expected to be worse than the previous rainy season, worsening the conditions of the displaced.?

    Houses and public buildings will likely be destroyed, should violence in Katanga escalate. Displaced people will need shelter.   

    5.9 million people are severely food insecure across the country (IPC Phases 3 and 4).? Political instability is likely to weigh on economic growth, and lead to inflation and higher commodity prices.?? Armed clashes are likely to hamper harvesting and negatively impact food security.? In former Katanga, harvesting takes place from February to March. Following the most recent rainy season, approximately 40,000 people were at risk of food insecurity in the territory between Pweto, Mitwaba and Manono, due to extreme flooding and rains as a result of an El Nino year.? The population is dependent on imports from Zambia, but high levels of food insecurity in Zambia mean imports have fallen, leading to decreased food availability and increased prices.? Flooding in the October-June rainy season may also destroy crops and impact food security.

    Access to healthcare in Katanga, already poor, will be further hampered by armed clashes. The rainy season (October–June) will likely exacerbate the cholera outbreak and the disease is likely to spread along the Congo river from former Katanga to Kinshasa. The response to yellow fever in Kwango, Kinshasa, and Kongo-Central will likely be constrained should violent clashes occur in Kinshasa. Katanga was badly affected by measles last year (most of the 40,000 cases were in former Katanga), and reduced access to healthcare, as well as poor living conditions, will facilitate another outbreak.? Civilians may be unable or unwilling to seek medical care at hospital or clinics, if insecurity increases. ?

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  • Election-related violence surges

    Latest update: 13/10/2016

    Probability

    Highly unlikely Highly likely

    Outlook for September 2016 – February 2017

    The DRC government’s actions to keep President Kabila in power threaten national cohesion and stability. In the coming months, the crisis is likely to manifest itself into: a surge in election-related violence in major urban centres, such as Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma, Bukavu, and Mbuji-Mayi. Protests will lead to further state repression, and an intensification of clashes between opposition supporters and the police.

    Since 2015, protests related to President Kabila’s attempts to remain in power beyond his constitutionally mandated two-term limit in December have taken place in the capital Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, capital of the former province of Katanga, and Goma, capital of Nord-Kivu.

    The government response to protests has been heavy handed: teargas was fired on a demonstration on 24 April, and since then protests have ended in clashes between opposition supporters and the police. However, protests persist, and the government crackdown has grown. Election-related human rights violations, including summary executions, death threats, arbitrary detention, and restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly have all increased since 2015. Opponents of President Kabila have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and prolonged incommunicado detention.

    Those resisting Kabila’s attempts to remain in power include the ‘old’ opposition around Etienne Tshisekedi and his Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), with a large support base in Kinshasa, and the ‘new’ opposition supporting Moïse Katumbi. The opposition has sought unity, but continues to struggle over whether to present a single candidate in an eventual election.

    External pressure on the DRC government is mounting. The UN Security Council has extended its arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban until July 2017, and has expressed concern over the arbitrary arrest of opposition supporters and has urged President Kabila to hold elections by the end of the year. Governments, including the United States, have raised the possibility of imposing economic sanctions should national elections fail to take place this year.

    In August, President Kabila sought the support of Rwandan and Ugandan leaders for prolonging his stay in office. President Kabila has reportedly sought to revitalise relations with the two countries. With resistance mounting in eastern DRC, Kabila is counting on Rwanda’s military support to help contain Kinyarwanda-speaking opponents.

    MONUSCO, the UN stabilisation mission in DRC, is planning to create mobile teams to monitor human rights and political issues in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Goma, in order to improve early warning of election-related violence. It is also reviewing its military and police deployments.

    Predicted developments

    Demonstrations, expressions of popular anger, and violence is expected

    As the electoral deadline approaches, further demonstrations, expressions of popular anger, and violence are expected, leading to further state repression. Armed clashes between the police and opposition supporters are likely to intensify in Lubumbashi, as well as Kinshasa, Goma (Nord-Kivu), and Mbuji-Mayi (Kasai-Oriental). Fighting between regime loyalists and opposition supporters is likely to flare up unexpectedly. Arbitrary arrests, detention of opposition party members, and bans on demonstrations are likely to increase. The international community is likely to further pressure President Kabila to step down in December, via embargos and economic sanctions.

    Impact

      Election-related violence, such as arbitrary arrests, detention of opposition party members, and bans on demonstrations, is likely to increase in the coming months. The government is likely to use excessive force to crack down on members of the opposition and opposition supporters. Violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly will increase. Restrictions on opposition parties and civil society groups is likely to intensify.  

      Armed violence is likely to disrupt access to clean water and sanitation services, and to damage already poor infrastructure, constraining access to clean water in Lubumbashi and other urban centres. Citizens will have to fetch untreated water from rivers and open wells, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases.?

    5.9 million people are severely food insecure across the country (IPC Phases 3 and 4). ?Political instability is likely to weigh on economic growth, and lead to inflation and higher commodity prices.??Armed clashes are likely to hamper harvesting and negatively impact food security. The population is dependent on imports from Zambia, but high levels of food insecurity in Zambia mean imports have fallen, leading to decreased food availability and increased prices.? Flooding in the October-June rainy season may also destroy crops and impact food security.

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  • Violent conflit interethnique au Kasaï ; les affrontements s’étendent à l’ancienne province du Katanga

    Latest update: 30/05/2017

    Probability

    Highly unlikely Highly likely

    Perspective mai à octobre

    Nombre actuel de personnes affectées : 2,4 millions

    Nombre prévu de personnes affectées : au moins 300 000 nouvelles personnes affectées

    Les premières attaques menées par la milice Kamuina Nsapu contre les institutions de l’État ont été signalées dans la province du Kasaï Central. Le conflit s’est ensuite étendu aux provinces du Kasaï et du Kasaï Oriental, ainsi qu’à certains territoires des provinces de la Lomami et du Sankuru?. Au 12 mai 2017, le bilan s’élevait à au moins 400 morts, dont de nombreux civils, à plus de 2,4 millions de personnes affectées  et à 1,3 million de déplacés internes ??. Le conflit a considérablement évolué, risquant de prendre une tournure ethnique ainsi que de s’étendre à de nouveaux territoire. 

    Contexte

    Depuis mi-2016, les violences se sont intensifiées au Kasaï suite au refus, par les autorités centrales, de reconnaître la nomination de Jean-Pierre Mpandi en tant que Kamuina Nsapu, titre du chef coutumier de Bajila Kasanga, dans la province du Kasaï Central, car celui-ci refusait notamment de soutenir la majorité présidentielle. Malgré le caractère apolitique du chef coutumier, les autorités exigent souvent qu’il s’aligne avec le pouvoir en place ?.

    Origines de l’insurrection de Kamuina Nsapu

    En 2015, le gouvernement central a divisé le Kasaï en cinq provinces, affaiblissant de ce fait l’autorité des chefs coutumiers et entraînant la détérioration des relations entre ceux-ci et le gouvernement central ainsi qu’avec les autorités provinciales. Dès avril 2016, le renforcement des actions des forces de sécurité, pour affirmer leur emprise sur la région, a ravivé les tensions, Mpandi dénonçant les harcèlements subis par les membres de son groupe?. Le 12 août 2016, Mpandi a été tué par les Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) lors d’affrontements. Depuis sa mort, ses fidèles cherchent à le venger et revendiquent plus de pouvoir pour les acteurs locaux dans la région du Kasaï.

    La situation au Kasaï cristallise également les profondes frustrations des habitants de la région. Ceux-ci dénoncent depuis longtemps l’indifférence politique dont font preuve les autorités envers la région et l’absence de développement socioéconomique; le Kasaï étant le fief de l’opposition et le lieu de naissance d'Étienne Tshisekedi, chef historique du parti Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social (UDPS). La milice Kamuina Nsapu profite du conflit politique national pour affaiblir encore davantage la légitimité des institutions provinciales. Outre ses revendications locales, la milice exige que soit rapidement mis en œuvre l’accord du 31 décembre 2016 prévoyant un processus de transition politique et la tenue du scrutin présidentiel?. La commission électorale nationale indépendante (CENI) a été prise pour cible, tout comme les institutions religieuses, celles-ci jouant le rôle de médiateurs dans le processus de transition. Cependant, les attaques menées contre la CENI ne font que reporter davantage les élections ??. L’opposition ne semble pas jouer de rôle dans la résolution du conflit au Kasaï.

    Factions au sein de la milice Kamuina Nsapu

    L’une des principales revendications de l’insurrection de Kamuina Nsapu a été la restitution du corps de Mpandi. Suite aux efforts entrepris par les autorités nationales et provinciales pour répondre aux doléances de la famille de Mpandi, un certain nombre de miliciens ont déposé leurs armes, mais d’autres continuent de recourir à la violence. La milice est désormais scindée en deux factions : l’une réclame la paix et l’autre appelle à poursuivre la lutte contre les institutions de l'État. La milice ne dispose pas d’un commandement unifié, et est composée de plusieurs dizaines de groupes plus ou moins autonomes, avec des programmes et objectifs distincts?.

    Dimension ethnique du conflit

    Le conflit ne se limite plus aux griefs politiques et prend une dimension ethnique en dressant les groupes originaires de la région (ethnies Tshokwe et Pende, particulièrement présentes dans le sud des provinces du Kasaï) et les groupes non autochtones (ethnies Lulua et Luba étroitement liées) les uns contre les autres.

    Pour les populations autochtones, les populations non originaires de la région font peser une lourde menace sur la sécurité locale et les moyens de subsistance car la plupart des miliciens Kamuina Nsapu et Mpandi lui-même sont de l’ethnie Luba ?. Après le début de l’insurrection, des milices d’autodéfense ont été déployées pour assurer la sécurité de la population face aux attaques de Kamuina Nsapu. La dimension interethnique du conflit s’est ensuite intensifiée. Les Luba et les Lulua ont été pris pour cibles car ils soutiennent ou ont soutenu l’insurrection de Kamuina Nsapu, mais aussi parce qu‘ils ne sont pas originaires du sud du Kasaï. Le territoire de Kamonia (province du Kasaï) et les territoires de Luilu et de Kamiji (province de la Lomami) ont été les premiers concernés ??. Jusqu’à présent, les violences interethniques ont principalement touché le sud et le centre de la province du Kasaï, ainsi que le sud de la province de la Lomami. En avril, des signes de violence intercommunale ont également été observés à Luiza et Kazumba, dans la province du Kasaï Central, et à Ngandajika, dans la province de la Lomami ??.

    La situation ressemble aux événements qui se sont déroulés dans la province voisine du Katanga dans les années 1990 : un conflit y a éclaté suite à des divergences politiques ; les Luba étaient alors considérés comme des opposants du gouvernement de Joseph-Désiré Mobutu et des alliés d’Étienne Tshisekedi. Puis,  le conflit a rapidement pris une dimension ethnique, attisant les tensions entre les Luba non originaires de la province du Katanga et les natifs de la région. Cette situation a provoqué le déplacement forcé de 1,4 million de personnes et la mort d’au moins 5 000 Luba ?.

    Évolutions prévues

    Les groupes ethniques Luba et Lulua sont particulièrement vulnérables

    Les tensions interethniques au Kasaï risquent de s’intensifier et de devenir le facteur dominant de la recrudescence de la violence entre les groupes armés, notamment dans le sud du Kasaï. Dans les territoires du Kasaï, du Kasaï Central et de la Lomami, où les Lulua et les Luba sont en minorité, assassinats et déplacements forcés risquent de se multiplier. Il est peu probable que les politiciens, voire même les chefs de l’opposition, prennent des mesures pour apaiser la situation.

    L’affiliation et la structure de commandement de la milice Kamuina Nsapu étant relativement floues, il est fort probable que les miliciens se servent des griefs politiques comme prétextes pour commettre des actes de violence, extorsion, raids et autres activités criminelles opportunistes. Les affrontements devraient s’étendre à l’ancienne province du Katanga. Le gouvernement ayant la main mise sur plusieurs sites d’extraction minière dans la province du Haut-Katanga, au sud de la province de Lualaba et dans la province de Tanganyika, les risques de violence dans ces zones sont moindres. En revanche, les provinces de Lualaba et du Haut-Lomami risquent d’être le théâtre de violences.

    Les violences devraient se poursuivre et s’étendre à certains territoires de l’ex-Katanga

    Conséquences humanitaires

    small_noun_4244.png Des déplacements de populations fondés sur l’appartenance ethnique se produiront. En avril, des personnes appartenant à l'ethnie Luba ont été déplacées dans les territoires de Luilu et de Kamiji, dans la province du Haut-Lomami?.

    Des mouvements de populations transfrontaliers vers l’Angola sont  à prévoir comme le confirment les récentes arrivées et la localisation des violences ethniques dans le sud du Kasaï : sur les 33 400 réfugiés de la RDC recensés en Angola, 20 000 sont arrivés depuis avril 2017?.

    salud.jpg L’accès aux services de soins de santé de base sera restreint en raison du conflit. Le risque d’apparition de maladies transmissibles est déjà plus important suite à l’interruption des campagnes de vaccination dans la province du Kasaï Central ?. Les mauvaises conditions de vie des déplacés internes augmenteront par ailleurs le risque de flambée épidémique.

    Les besoins sont déjà importants : dans la province du Kasaï Central, un centre de santé sur trois n’est plus opérationnel?. Sur les 26 zones sanitaires établies dans la province du Kasaï Central, 12 ne peuvent plus être approvisionnées en médicaments de base ; ce chiffre s’élevait à 9 en janvier et à 3 en octobre?.

    hombre.jpg Le nombre de cas de violation des droits de l’homme commis par toutes les parties au conflit, comme les enlèvements et les exécutions, risque d’augmenter. Au moins 40 fosses communes ont déjà été découvertes?.

    D’autres enfants seront recrutés par la milice : quelque 2 000 enfants ont déjà été enrôlés depuis août 2016?.

    camion.jpg L’accès aux nouvelles zones affectées sera limité. Sept territoires dans les cinq provinces en proie au conflit ne sont déjà plus accessibles ?. Le déploiement des troupes des FARDC entravera les retours de populations et retardera la mise en œuvre de la réponse humanitaire ?.

    comiendo_.jpg Il est très probable que la situation nutritionnelle des personnes victimes des combats se détériore. Les taux de malnutrition aigue sévère (MAS) signalés dans la province du Kasaï Oriental dépassent déjà les seuils d’urgence. Le traitement des cas ne sera probablement pas approprié ? ?.

    grifo.jpg En ce qui concerne l’eau, l’assainissement et l’hygiène, la situation risque de se détériorer : les déplacés internes qui ont fui vers la brousse n’auront probablement pas accès à l’eau potable et à des installations sanitaires adéquates ?.

    puchero.jpg Les déplacements de populations empêchent la tenue des activités agricoles et exercent une pression sur les ressources. La sécurité alimentaire se dégradera, car la crise perturbera les récoltes et influera sur la disponibilité des produits alimentaires?. L’accès aux marchés sera restreint face à l’insécurité généralisée. Une augmentation constante des prix des principales denrées de base a déjà été constatée?.

    casa.jpg Les abris risquent d’être sérieusement endommagés suite aux violences interethniques, l’objectif des combattants étant d’empêcher les personnes déplacées de regagner leur village d’origine. Des abris ont déjà été pillés et incendiés?.

    libro.jpg Les services éducatifs seront sérieusement perturbés. Au Kasaï Central, en mai, les examens de fin d’année n’ont pas pu se dérouler  dans 15 des 72 établissements que compte la province du fait de l'insécurité?. Auparavant, la milice Kamuina Nsapu avait pris pour cible les écoles appliquant des frais de scolarité élevés. 

     

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  • Intense inter-ethnic conflict in Kasai; fighting spreads to former Katanga

    Latest update: 30/05/2017

    Probability

    Highly unlikely Highly likely

    Outlook for May–October 2017

    Current no. affected: 2.4 million

    Expected no. affected: At least 300,000 newly affected people

    Attacks by the Kamuina Nsapu militia on state institutions began in Kasai-Central, but spread to Kasai, Kasai-Oriental, and some areas of Lomami and Sankuru ?, resulting in at least 400 deaths, including many civilians; over 2.4 million affected; and 1.3 million internally displaced as of 12 May 2017 ??. The conflict has evolved and is at risk of both spreading as well as shifting into more inter-ethnic fighting. 

    Context 

    Since mid-2016 violence escalated in the Kasai region following the refusal of the central authorities to recognise Jean-Pierre Mpandi as hereditary chief (‘Kamuina Nsapu’) of the Bajila Kasanga chieftaincy in Kasai-Central, mainly because he did not support the presidential majority. Despite the position being officially apolitical, authorities often compel chiefs to align with the government ?.

    Drivers of the Kamuina Nsapu insurgency

    In 2015, the central government divided Kasai region into five provinces, undermining the local power of the chieftaincy, and leading to the deterioration of the relationship between the chieftaincy and the central government and provincial authorities. From April 2016, the increase of security forces to assert control in the area led to further tensions, with Mpandi protesting the harassment of his people, the Bajila Kasanga tribe ?. On 12 August 2016, the FARDC state military forces killed Mpandi in fighting. Since his death, his followers have sought revenge, and continue to fight for more local power in the Kasai regions.

    The situation in Kasai also reflects wider popular frustrations. People living in Kasai have long complained of political and socio-economic neglect by the authorities because it is an opposition stronghold with political figures such as Etienne Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS). The Kamuina Nsapu militia is exploiting the national-level political conflict to further undermine the already weak legitimacy of local institutions. In addition to its more local demands, it has called for rapid implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement on political transition and national elections ?. The national electoral commission (CENI) has been targeted, as have religious institutions, because they are involved in mediating the political transition process. However, the attacks on the electoral commission have only succeeded in further delaying any progress towards elections ??. The opposition has played no overt role in addressing the conflict in Kasai.

    Factions within Kamuina Nsapu militia

    One of the key demands of the Kamuina Nsapu insurgency was for the return of Mpandi’s body. While efforts by national and provincial authorities to address the grievances of Mpandi’s family have led some militia to lay down their weapons, others have continued to commit violence. The militia is now split between parties calling for peace and others calling to continue the fight against state institutions. The militia does not have a strong central command, but is made up of several dozen relatively autonomous groups with differing agendas ?.

    Ethnic dimension of the conflict

    Conflict is developing beyond political grievances and taking on an ethnic dimension, pitting groups who consider themselves as native to the region (Tchokwe and Pende - mostly from the south of the Kasai provinces) against those they describe as non-natives (Lulua and Luba, who are closely related).

    Non-natives are being portrayed as a threat to local security and livelihoods. This stems partly from the fact that Luba make up a large number of the Kamuina Nsapu and that Mpandi was a Luba ?. After Kamuina Nsapu began its insurgency, local ‘self-defence’ militias were set up to ensure security against attacks from Kamuina Nsapu. The conflict then shifted to more ethnic-based fighting. Luba and Lulua are being targeted not only for supporting or having supported the Kamuina Nsapu insurgency, but also for not originating from southern Kasai. This has happened in Kamonia in Kasai and in Luilu and Kamiji in Lomami ??. So far the inter-ethnic violence has mainly affected south and central Kasai and south Lomami, but in April there were signs of intercommunal violence in Luiza and Kazumba, Kasai-Central and Ngandajika, Lomami ??.

    This pattern is similar to events in neighbouring Katanga in the 1990s, where conflict broke out over political disagreements, and Luba were perceived to be opposed to Mobutu’s government and allied to Tshisekedi. However, the rhetoric soon took on a more ethnic dimension, with opposition to the Luba being based on their not being ‘native’ to Katanga. This resulted in the forced displacement of almost 1.4 million people and at least 5,000 Luba killed ?.

    Predicted developments

    Luba and Lulua groups are particularly at risk

    Within Kasai, inter-ethnic tensions are quite likely to escalate and become the main driver of increased violence between armed groups, primarily in southern Kasai. In the territories of Kasai, Kasai Central, and Lomami, where Lulua and Luba are in the minority, there will be a heightened risk of killings and forced displacement. Little action to calm the situation is expected from politicians - even leaders of the opposition - in this opposition stronghold.

    Given the loose affiliation and command structure of the Kamuina Nsapu militia, members are likely to increasingly use political grievances as a pretext for violence, and will engage in more extortion, raids, and other opportunistic criminal activities. Violence is likely to spread to the former Katanga province. While the government has control over several key mining sites in Haut-Katanga, south of Lualaba and Tanganyika provinces of Katanga, making violence there less likely, it is likely that northern parts of Lualaba and Haut-Lomami provinces will experience violence.

    Violence will continue and further spread to parts of neighbouring former Katanga region

    Impact

    small_noun_4244.png Displacement on an ethnic basis will occur. In April, Luba were displaced in Luilu and Kamij territories, Haut-Lomami province.?

    Increased cross-border movement to Angola can be expected, suggested by recent arrival trends and the location of ethnic violence in southern Kasai: 20,000 of the 33,400 DRC refugees in Angola have arrived since April 2017 ?.

    salud.jpg Access to basic healthcare services will be disrupted due to conflict. Risk of communicable disease is already on the rise due to the interruption of vaccination campaigns in Kasai-Central ?. Poor living conditions among IDPs will increase the risk of a disease outbreak. 

    Needs are already high: in Kasai-Central, one in three health centres are no longer functional ?. 12 out of 26 health zones in Kasai-Central cannot be supplied with basic medicines, compared to 9 in January and 3 in October ?.

    hombre.jpg Human rights abuses, such as kidnapping and executions, are likely to be widespread, and committed by all parties. At least 40 mass graves have already been found ?.

    More children will be recruited by militia: some 2,000 children have been recruited since August 2016 ?.

    camion.jpg Access to newly affected areas will be limited. Already, seven territories in the five conflict-affected provinces are not accessible ?.  Deployment of FARDC troops will prevent returns and delay the implementation of response ?.

    comiendo_.jpg The nutrition situation will deteriorate among people newly affected by fighting. Kasai-Oriental has reported SAM levels over the emergency threshold. SAM treatment is unlikely to be adequate ??

    grifo.jpg WASH situation will be impacted as fighting spreads – people displaced to the bush will likely lack access to safe water or adequate sanitation ?.

    puchero.jpg Displacement hinders farming and strains resources. Food security will deteriorate as the crisis impacts the harvest and food availability?. Market access will be further disrupted as insecurity spreads. Increased main staple food prices have already been reported ?

    casa.jpg Ethnic-related violence increases the risk of shelter damage, as fighters try to prevent returns to areas of origin. Shelters have already been looted and burned down?.

    libro.jpg Education will be further disrupted. In Kasai-Central, final exams could not take place in May in 15 out of 72 education centres due to insecurity?? Kamuina Nsapu militia have targeted schools in protest at high fees.

     

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