The Greater Kasai, homeland to the now defunct opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, was first hit by conflict in August 2016. Initiated by the killing of Jean-Prince Mpandi – the Kamwina Nsapu a traditionnal chief who was killed during gunfight with government forces (FARDC) – the conflict resulted in an organised rise up against government authority. The Kamwina Nsapu militias, who marched on Kananga and seized control of the city and its airport in September 2016, have been fighting government forces in the provinces of Kasaï, Kasaï-Central, Kasaï-Oriental, Lomami and Sankuru since then (The Greater Kasai region). More than 80 mass graves have been reported in the area, and 3300 civilians reported killed. Two UN experts were killed in March 2017 (Chilean-Swedish Zaida Catalán, 36 and American Michael Sharp, 34) with their murder remaining unsolved to this day. The conflict has led to the internal displacement of more than 1.5 million since then.
This story was shot in multiple locations in Kasaï Central, covering raided villages, rehabilitation centres for former militias, local NGOs, life in the city of Kananga and in several surrounding villages where people have fled from the whole region to find refuge.