WILD INFLATION IN 2017, FIGHTING AND STARVATION

Over the last year inflation has eaten up the purchasing power of the Congo franc. Many people in the cities are severely malnourished or starving and markets are barely functioning. In the capital, there has been sporadic violence, especially after the mass jail-break of about 4000 prisoners who have scattered into hiding in the city of ten million. Traffic police often stop drivers for minor infractions, but now military police frequently stop and search vehicles. Besides the decades of warring militia in eastern Congo, for a year now the central province of Kasai has been a hotbed of fighting between tribal groups and the military (under the dictatorial ex-president Kabila who refuses to leave office). Some UN investigators (including an American and a Swedish national) were captured and murdered; each side blames the other. This Kasai province is the home region of the three most active founders of WCOA and many of its members, so the plight of the hundreds of thousands of refugees and starving people is a special concern to them as well as a destabilizing factor in the country at large.