North Kivu joins Ituri as a flashpoint in troubled Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with the United Nations (UN) reporting around 90 000 people displaced in the Kitchanga area, apparently one outcome of an M23 rebel group offensive.
Speaking at a regular noon briefing at UN headquarters in New York, Stephane Dujarric repeated a previous call for the eastern DRC based rebel group to cease hostilities and withdraw from occupied areas.
He cited a UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report claiming displaced Congolese sought refuge in school, churches and with host families in nearby Mweso. “As more displaced people arrive, humanitarian organisations are concerned about the spread of cholera following last month’s outbreak,” OCHA said.
According to Dujarric fighting is impeding road access making it difficult to deliver humanitarian aid. “The UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO continues to provide physical security and immediate assistance including shelter, water and medical care to about 500 Congolese civilians currently in and outside the Kitchanga UN base.”
Clashes were reported between M23, DRC forces and UN peacekeepers south-east of Kitchanga at Kishishe with “heavy weapons” used.
An explosion was reported in Beni earlier last week with 18 civilians, including 13 women, injured. Four are in a critical condition with a UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) team sent to investigate.