May 9, 2016
Mr. Roger MUTEBA, a lawyer, based in Mweso (about 60 kms west of Goma), was coordinating the legal clinic of HEAL Africa. He was working on the same project as the late Viviane Vira Fataki, who passed away in March, due to childbirth complications.
On the morning of Friday, May 6, 2016, a group of armed men, identified as the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS) in Masisi territory, clashed with The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC). Three of HEAL Africa’ staff, Mr Roger MUTEBA, Me Dama, and driver Jean-Pierre, were traveling from Mweso to Kitchanga, when they were caught in a crossfire between the two groups. The staff immediately jumped out of the vehicle to run for cover. A stray bullet hit Roger in the abdomen.
The driver Jean-Pierre, ran to Roger’s aid, placed him back in the vehicle, and drove him to the nearest hospital. Doctors without borders (MSF) working the hospital operated immediately. Due to the severity of his injuries and limited blood supply, a transfer was organized with MONUSCO and UNHAS by helicopter, to HEAL Africa in Goma. The earliest possible transfer would be the following morning. Unfortunately, Roger’s injuries were too severe and help came too late. Roger passed away that evening at around 8:30 PM.
Me Dama, also a lawyer (who had replaced Viviane), managed to run away and hide in the bush. She found her way to Kitchanga, where HEAL Africa has another legal clinic. She is safe and in good health.
Roger is a significant loss for HEAL Africa. In the last two months, two lawyers, working on the same project, have passed. Roger and Viviane both assisted and defended survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
Statement from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Posted in On The Ground