When asked to name a long-running war somewhere the world, many people are likely to point to notorious hotspots such as Afghanistan or Syria. How many would name Kivu?
Yet this conflict in the heart of Africa ranks among the longest, bloodiest and potentially most dangerous wars in recent history. Fighting in Kivu, a region in the east of the vast powder-keg state of the Democratic Republic of Congo, first flared a generation ago.
It developed into two full-fledged wars that sucked in countries around eastern and southern Africa, claiming millions of lives. Today, the fighting continues at a lower intensity and without direct foreign involvement.
But it still reaps a near-daily harvest of killings, rape, maimings and torched villages, coinciding with an ongoing outbreak of Ebola — a mix that adds perilously to the DRC’s instability.
“The conflict is deliberately being forgotten or played down by the international community, which is showing a kind of willful blindness,” said Omar Kavota, head of the Centre of Studies for Peace, Democracy and Human Rights (CEPADHO), a not-for-profit group based in the province of North Kivu.
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