Multimedia Newsroom
Images & footage available to download at no charge. They may not be sold or transferred to a third party or used for commercial purpose. Caution: our footage can be distressing.

31-05-2024 | Latest News , Africa

Minova – a commercial hub trapped in the fighting in eastern DRC

Minova, a town of about 50,000 inhabitants, tucked between the Lake Kivu and the mountains, has been a bustling commercial hub in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. But, since the armed conflict this part of the country has known for thirty years, flared up at the end of 2023, the commercial activity has slowed dramatically.

“Because of the war, we hardly get any income. Buying food is difficult. Prices have gone up. And so, we are wondering how do we survive? How do we live?” says Kasereka Kohonja, a barber, who works at the local market.

On Fridays, the market day, the town’s main street used to be filled with trucks that came from Bukavu, the capital of the South Kivu, or Goma in the neighboring North Kivu. The trucks brought household goods and in return, loaded them with locally produced fruit and vegetables to take away to markets of larger towns.

Now, the only road between Minova and Goma is cut off by the fighting between the government forces and M23 movement, and the road connecting Minova to Bukavu was made unusable by floods and landslides. Bringing goods into the town has become incredibly difficult, since the only way to access it is by the lake, which is also becoming more and more insecure for civilian boats due to the armed conflicts in the area. 

The scarcity of the essential resources can be felt even more, since the town’s population exploded, after hundreds of thousands of people fled their villages in recent months and came here to seek refuge with not much more than the clothes they were wearing.  “Life has defeated us,” says Beatrice Tunisifu, a young mother who has been displaced for about two months with her infant. “Because of hunger and disease.”

In the past weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) brought food and essential household items for 48,000 displaced people in Minova and surrounding areas, having first secured the guarantees of safe access from the parties engaged in the fighting.  “When we bring medicine, food, or other essential items, we always start by notifying the parties to the conflict, so they can give us access,” says Claude Milongo, who oversees ICRC programs in Kalehe, Southern Kivu.  “And we work with the national Red Cross society and local authorities, who also help us to deliver aid.”

 For further information please contact:

Alyona Synenko, ICRC Nairobi, +254 716 897 265,

Eleonore Asomani, ICRC Dakar, +221781864687,

Follow the ICRC on and


Production Number



On-screen credit


Shooting date





DRC, Minova, South Kivu



French, Swahili


Mark Kamau



Alyona Synenko

Copyright / Details of restriction if applicable


Comments / brief overview of content







00:00:00:00 - 00:00:05:24

Lake Kivu, boat arriving to Minova

00:00:06:00 - 00:00:15:05

People displaced by the conflict in the recent months receive food in Minova

00:00:15:06 - 00:00:23:16

Beatrice, a displaced mother, receives food assistance from the Red Cross

 00:00:23:17 - 00:00:47:14

Beatrice returns to the school where she has lived with her child for the past several months after they fled their home because of the fighting.



 00:00:48:05 - 00:00:57:20

Soundbite : Beatrice Mitsa Tunisifu, displaced mother

The suffering, the hunger… When the students come back to class, we must stay outside under the rain.


00:00:59:05 - 00:01:08:16

And to eat… It happens that I find something, and it happens that I have nothing at all.  If I am lucky, I find enough food to make one meal a day.

00:01:08:19 - 00:01:14:20

And if not, then I spend the day and I go to sleep hungry, hoping there will be another chance to find some food.

00:01:15:06 - 00:01:19:22


 Life has defeated us.  Because of hunger and disease.


00:01:21:09 - 00:01:39:00

Soundbite : Kasereka Kohonja, a local barber

Because of the war, we hardly get any income. Buying food is difficult. Prices have gone up. And so, we are wondering how do we survive? How do we live?


00:01:40:13 - 00:01:51:16

Displaced people outside the school

00:01:51:17 - 00:02:16:17

Beatrice bringing food she received from the Red Cross into the school

00:02:16:18 - 00:02:26:10

Red Cross volunteers unload the boat that delivered food.

00:02:26:11 - 00:03:22:17

Soundbite: Claude Milongo, responsible for the Kalehe Region for the ICRC


The biggest difficulty in delivering assistance to the Minova area, where we are now is the problem of access.

First, the road between Bukavu and Minova is cut off.

And when we bring assistance by the lake, we must pass combat areas. Where one party shoots mortars and the other side responds, so this is the risk we take to bring aid by the lake to displaced people here in Minova.

While we bring assistance there may be shooting by the parties to the conflict. When we bring medicine, food or other essential items.

So, we always start by notifying the parties to the conflict, so they can give us access and we can bring all the assistance here to Minova. And we work with the national Red Cross society and local authorities. And this is how we manage to deliver aid.


00:03:22:18- 00:03:32:23

Red Cross volunteers unload food from the boat.

00:03:32:24 - 00:03:52:14

Displaced people queuing up to receive food.

00:03:52:15 - 00:04:06:16

Views of the port of Minova






Duration : 4m 7s
Size : 450.9 MB
On Screen Credit: ICRC or logo

More Related News