UN mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) peacekeepers held a meeting with internally displaced persons, chiefs, and notables in Bujombo. (MONUSCO/Force)

Last week, 24 women, children, and babies were slaughtered in a maternity ward in Kabul. Women were “all on their own,” as hospital policy prohibited them from being accompanied in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had major disruptive effects globally, but has not stopped such atrocities from being committed, despite United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for a global ceasefire to fight the disease’s spread. As significant resources are being diverted to respond to the health crisis, many actors continue to engage in violent attacks and abuse against civilians.

In Mali, on April 24, gunmen attacked several villages and killed at least a dozen of civilians near Bandiagara. “What is killing us,” said the local mayor, “isn’t coronavirus, but war.” The following day, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 17 people were killed in an ambush in Virunga National Park, which has been closed since March due to COVID-19 concerns. Early in May, ten attacks against humanitarian organizations were recorded in only nine days in the northeastern town of Ndélé in the Central African Republic (CAR), in which 27 people were killed, 56 injured, and 2,000 displaced . Read more