In eastern Congo, citizens are terrified

Men carry boxes with ammunition for fighters as Congolese rebels prepare to withdraw from Mushake, near Goma, Congo, Nov. 28.

CNS PHOTO | GORAN TOMASEVIC, REUTERS

Men carry boxes with ammunition for fighters as Congolese rebels prepare to withdraw from Mushake, near Goma, Congo, Nov. 28.

December 10, 2012

As Congolese rebels initiated what appeared to be a partial withdrawal from the city of Goma, a Catholic organization said the region’s civilians remained either on the run or terrified that their community would be the next target for a rebel attack.

“We abandoned our homes unable to bring food with us.

We fled into the forest with only one objective in mind, our safety.

And we don’t have any idea of when or how we will return home,” a Congolese identified by a pseudonym, Paluku, told Jesuit Refugee Service.

Paluku fled his home in Masisi, northwest of Goma, Nov. 25 following the outbreak of fighting between the Congolese army and an ethnic Mai-Mai militia group; he currently is in hiding.

“We don’t have anything to eat or drink.

Above all, the women and children are in a state of shock,” Paluku was quoted as saying.

On Nov. 25, intense fighting with government troops forced JRS to suspend services in Masisi.