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A man mourns one of the victims of the Mugunga IDP Camp bombing during a burial ceremony in Kibati, DR Congo. Photo: Guerchom Ndebo/CFP.

DRC holds funeral for victims of deadly bombings at IDP sites

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) held a funeral on Wednesday for the victims of recent bombings at several sites for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country’s eastern province of North Kivu.

On May 3, at least five rockets fell in and around four IDP camps in the outlying neighborhoods of Goma, the capital of North Kivu Province. According to the provincial government, the toll rose to 35 dead and 37 injured.

The Minister of Social Affairs, Humanitarian Actions and National Solidarity, Modeste Mutinga Mutushayi, reaffirmed the DRC government’s will and determination to spare no effort to restore peace in the eastern part of the country.

“May this mourning awaken in us a dynamic of national solidarity. Be more than reassured that you are not alone in this difficult, disturbing, and trying ordeal,” he said.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned last Tuesday that the risk of further shell explosions “cannot be ruled out,” as one of the fallen shells remains unexploded, and there is an escalation of hostilities in areas surrounding IDP camps.

The sites bombed last Friday are located on the axis between Goma and the town of Sake, one of the epicenters of hostilities between the DRC military and the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels, considered the last barrier to Goma.

Humanitarian access to IDP sites along the Goma-Sake axis has been “further restricted” due to persistent fighting, the OCHA said.

The DRC government has blamed the attacks on M23 rebels, who have taken control of some parts of North Kivu Province. The UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO, has called on all parties to take appropriate measures to reduce risks to the protection of civilians and to maintain humanitarian access.

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