- Yassin Kombi Kadina
- Beni (DRC) – BBC Africa
Repeated attacks attributed to Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels forced school authorities to order the closure of 54 schools in Ruwenzori, Beni Territory, eastern DRC, just two months from the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
This decision worries the head of the education administration of the sector Ruwenzori, who says he fears the impact of this long closure on children’s education. In the Ruwenzori sector in eastern DRC, it is now birdsong replacing the hubbub and clamor of schoolchildren in the school playground.
To read especially on BBC Africa:
The primary school in Kalembo is one of the establishments affected by the administrative decision to suspend education for security reasons.
Kitsa Floribert, director of EP Kalembo, who has not had access to her office for almost a year, no longer knows where her keys are, which she keeps at home.
“There was the ADF that invaded us here and we were forced to close the doors and go to the middle, to Bolongo especially where we are studying”, he told the BBC newspaper.
According to him, a number of 332 school-age children have moved to Uganda or Butembo to escape harassment.
“The school is there! It’s already abandoned”, he laments.
The situation of school insecurity dates back to two years in the Ruwenzori sector.
What worries the sub-test (Head of subdivision of the educational province) Dominique Sondirya, two months before the end of the school year.
“When I arrived, we had more than 250 schools. Today, I can say that a third are closed. At least 50 schools and about fifteen others that are relocated, that is, that are functioning, in some way, in other schools, “, says the authority.
“We are two months away from the end of the school year, but my concern is that parents and children are scattered,” he says.
“You see from Loselose, to Halungupa, recently to Masambo, it’s almost impossible for these schools to be able to reopen,” notes the underproven.
“Children have lost their right to education”
For local civil society, it is first necessary to guarantee the entities to reassure the populations.
“In the Malambo group, the children have not studied for two years. Thus, they lose their right to education”, underlines Ricardo Rupende, president of the local civil society.
For him, safety comes first.
“Each school must be safe. We must guarantee the agglomeration exactly. As we did in Mutwanga and Nzenga”, he confides.
However, he regrets that “several units have not yet entered into this idea, this philosophy of guaranteeing both the entity and the schools”.
Which explains, according to him, the reason why “we don’t study”.
Since 2020, violence has increased in the Ruwenzori sector, driving thousands of families to abandon their villages.
The last deadliest attack in the area was carried out in the village of Masambo last month. An attack that resulted in the death of more than 30 civilians killed with machetes.