October 24, 2022, Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo — It is with horror that we were informed of the massacre committed on the night of October 19-20, 2022 in Maboya, a village located in North Kivu Province, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We strongly condemn this attack attributed to elements from the ADF terrorist group whose provisional human toll is seven people killed, including Sister Dr. Marie-Sylvie Kavuke Vakatsuraki, who lost her life with her patients while she was on call at the Maboya Reference Health Center managed by the Diocesan Office of Medical Works of the Diocese of Butembo-Beni.

We also deplore the looting and burning of several houses as well as the destruction of the Hospital of the Baptist Community of Central Africa, located near the Maboya Reference Health Center.

These heinous crimes cannot go unpunished and we urge the Congolese authorities to conduct an investigation so that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.

Hospitals can never be a target and medical staff and patients must be protected in all circumstances.

The massacres at Lemera Hospital on October 6, 1996 began the reign of impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators and sponsors of this serious crime. The Lemera Massacre is listed and described in the Mapping Report published by the United Nations in 2010. The absence of a response from both national and international justice in the face of these flagrant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law fuels the repetition of these attacks on health structures until today.

The time has come to implement the recommendations of the Mapping Report and to adopt a holistic national transitional justice strategy to break the infernal cycle of violence and impunity that destroys the Congo every day. The time has come to consolidate the rule of law and prevent the recurrence of the mass atrocities that have bereaved every Congolese family for more than a quarter of a century.

We offer our condolences to the families of the victims and their loved ones, to the National Order of Physicians, to the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Presentation of Our Lady at the Temple of Butembo and to Bishop Sikuli Paluku Melchizedech, the Bishop of the Diocese of Butembo-Beni.

We invite all Congolese doctors to demonstrate peacefully on the day of the funeral of Sister Dr. Marie-Sylvie Kavuke Vakatsuraki in order to express our indignation at this crime which threatens the exercise of our profession and which cannot in any way pass as a simple news item.

Congolese people, stand up and walk. Take control of your destiny.

Denis Mukwege

Nobel Peace Prize 2018

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