By RFIPalled on 11-08-2019Modified on 11-08-2019 at 14:47

The province of South Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is plagued by insecurity. In the past year, attacks between indigenous pygmies and guards of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP) have multiplied. The Pygmies, historically considered as the first inhabitants of Congo, threaten to return to the forest of this park, an area that they consider as their territory of origin.

It is a conflict that dates back a long time but has taken another dimension, for a year, when the Pygmies stormed part of the park they consider their natural environment.

" My brothers, the indigenous Pygmy peoples, since they were hunted, no accompanying measures have been followed, " says Patrick, a member of the Collectif des Peuples autochtones.

The communications officer of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park , Hubert Mulongoy, speaks of a militia already formed to attack the eco-guards.

" Are the Mai-Mai who attacked us Pygmies or is it a militia? ", he asks.

Other threats hang over the park

In addition to the attacks , there is also deforestation of about 300 hectares, poaching and even the exploitation of ores in this park.

" It must stop immediately. This is why I ask the entire national and international community to be able to mobilize to discourage everything that is done, "said Jacques Amani Kamanda, rapporteur of the South Kivu Provincial Assembly.

In a letter to the Minister of the Environment, the Integrated Protection Partnership (IPP) is concerned about the current state of affairs.

" These conflicts, here, risk leading to inter-community conflict if it is not well managed because park wardens and pygmies all live in the same village, " explains Pascal Mupenda, program manager of the PPI.

The provincial Ministry of the Environment is considering a definitive solution to these conflicts. Among the avenues envisaged, is the organization of a round table bringing together the guards, the local communities and the Pygmies.

They continue to ask to be compensated by the Congolese state, if they can not join the park. Organizations have repeatedly referred to the African Court of Human Rights on this issue.

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