May 15, 2013

Armed men attacked the village of Mpeti in North Kivu Province on the morning of May 14, killing and seriously injuring civilians, including children.



DRC 2008 © MSF

Patients recover from surgery in an MSF facility in Rutshuru, North Kivu Province.

GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO/NEW YORK, MAY 16, 2013—Men armed with bayonets, machetes, and wooden clubs attacked the village of Mpeti in North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the morning of May 14, killing and seriously injuring civilians, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which is treating survivors of the attack, said today.

Among the wounded under treatment at Mweso Hospital, some 25 miles from Mpeti, are two young children, one of whom was orphaned in the attack. The mother and 18-month-old baby brother of the other child under treatment were also killed.

"This was a deplorable and brutal attack in which young children were targeted and their parents killed," said Hugues Robert, MSF’s head of mission in Goma. "MSF condemns in the strongest terms attacks of this kind against civilians."

Two young children with multiple stab injuries in the chest, back, and head and one adult male with multiple stab injuries in the back and neck were admitted to the MSF facility, according to MSF Surgeon Martin Jarmin. "Currently all patients are stable and we hope they will make a good recovery," he said.

Survivors described indiscriminate violence aimed at civilians, resulting in many deaths. Corpses were apparently thrown in a river.

"I suspect that many more died in Mpeti during this attack, either directly from their injuries or because they were unable to get immediate medical attention in the hours that followed," said Robert. "I fear that the patients we have been able to treat are just the tip of the iceberg."

MSF supports a health center in Mpeti that treats roughly 300 patients per week, mostly for malaria and other common diseases. Since the beginning of the year, insecurity and fighting between armed militias in control of different parts of the area have repeatedly forced Mpeti's roughly 1,000 residents to flee their homes and at times prevented the MSF medical team from accessing patients in need. The village is fully deserted at the moment.