Sierra Leone-Security-Humanitarian

COVID-19 exacerbates armed violence in Africa

APA-Freetown-(Sierra Leone)

Africa had been plagued by armed violence and poverty for far too long before the outbreak of the COVID-19 that has infected 206,597 people and claimed 5,578 lives on the continent, official figures show on Wednesday.

Humanitarian experts say many families across Africa including Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mali, and South Sudan are being forcibly uprooted from their homes while the continent is struggling to contain the global pandemic.

“Violence in many parts of Africa has not stopped because of COVID-19,” said Patrick Youssef, the International Committee of the Red Cross’ (ICRC) incoming regional director for Africa. Youssef made the statement in a press release published on Wednesday.

Many civilians in the DRC where millions have fled their homes from arm violence in search of safety are being “injured, killed, displaced, subjected to sexual violence, forcibly recruited to armed groups, and see their property destroyed,” according to the ICRC.

The violence-prone English-speaking region in Cameroon is also another part of Africa where the crisis has forced economic activities and public service such as healthcare and education to stop functioning, inflicting widespread suffering among the local communities, especially those who fled for their lives to surrounding forests and lacked shelter, hygiene, health, nutrition.

Moreover, the ICRC suggests that Burkina Faso was last year the fastest growing displacement crisis from armed violence in Africa. 

The humanitarian organization “provided food to more than 51,000 displaced people in the north and relief items to 9,000 people in the country’s east and east-central.”

Last week’s arm attack in central Mali left villages burned to the ground, herds and property looted, and families killed and other forced to flee. 

Moreover, South Sudan whose five-year civil war erupted soon after it gained independence in 2011 and where nearly 4 million remain displaced reported two weeks ago that hundreds of civilians, including three aid workers, were killed in a series of tribal clashes.

Many top South Sudanese government officials including 10 cabinet ministers and Riek Marchar, the first Vice President, and his wife and a number of his staff and bodyguards have tested positive for coronavirus.


ABJ/APA

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