Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

Congo crisis: Eyewitness accounts

Jo and Lyn Lusi
Jo and Lyn Lusi
Their smiles for the camera belie the horrors Jo and Lyn Lusi have witnessed through their work for Heal Africa.

Jo is an orthopaedic surgeon, working with the injured in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while Lyn works as a project manager for the charity.

Jo, who is Congolese, and British-born Lyn have been living and working together in Goma since 1985.

They have been telling BBC News how the conflict has been affecting their community over the last few days.


Today we've had some peace and there have been no shootings. Life is coming back to normal, we have sent children to school and people are back to work. The government is also reopening its offices.

People who are fighting the rebels are still very near, they are 10 km from here. But we have gone out of our houses and into the streets.

Everybody is confused about the ceasefire, we don't know if its long lasting. But at least no bullets have been shot.

We are running out of food because the road is blocked. People are afraid to go to the fields, so what is left of food is getting very expensive and some are sharing what they have.

At the hospital, we are now treating the patients who were burned or wounded, but we haven't had any bullet wounds.

We are still very happy that the rebels have declared a ceasefire. At least, the shooting has stopped and life has become more acceptable.


This morning I was called to help a girl who was raped last night. She is about 13 and is now at the hospital.

Medical teams help the injured in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Jo Lusi and team tend the injured
She has been crying, and we need to administer medicine to protect her against HIV. She needs to get the drug within 78 hours so we need to find the keys for the medicine cabinet.

I am trying to get the authorities to find the criminals, but we need the military to help in the search. The people responsible must be punished.

Raping a girl is a higher crime than killing people.

The British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is here today and I want to speak to him.

If I am allowed to appear before him I will tell him it has been terrible for us all and show him the effects of the war.

Everybody is afraid. The younger people are starving. We are afraid that famine will kill us all.


Please be reassured for all of us. We have woken up safely.

After a night of shooting in the town, all is quiet, and Jo and I and about half the staff are at the hospital.

Jo and Lyn Lusi talk to the News Channel

CNDP are outside the town, and they do not want to engage the MONUC [UN peace mission in DR Congo] - that would be a major diplomatic faux pas.

So probably the wisest thing the Congolese army could do was to run away. The shops are mostly intact, thanks to the police patrolling the main streets.

Some of the military are coming back into town. The casualties are many, especially from the populated areas, where most of the looting occurred in private houses.

One family lost seven children.

Pray for the family of Mrs Esanga and her family. They are all here in the hospital.

All four children were seriously injured and the mother was tortured. They put a grenade under the mattress of the six-year old, where he was sleeping.

I went into surgery while Jo and Kimona were treating the older brother, putting his liver and intestines back. We pray he will survive. Such cruelty is incomprehensible.

It has nothing to do with war; it is banditry and terrorism.

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