DRC violence continues – UN

460

The tinderbox that is Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues to spawn a litany of horrors, including dozens of deaths and displacement of over a hundred thousand Congolese, a United Nations (UN) daily media briefing was told this week.

“A string of attacks on civilians in North Kivu displaced more than 100 000 people and claimed dozens of lives in the last week,” Stéphane Dujarric said.

Information from humanitarian agencies working in the sprawling central African country is that over 50 000 people displaced from Rutshuru “found safety” in Kibirizi, the man who speaks for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters. Another 55 000 people living in the Masisi fled from conflict to shelter in neighbouring villages as well as to Goma and Minova in South Kivu.

“UN peacekeepers report sheltering 95 children at their base in Sake, including 50 children from an orphanage.  This followed weekend clashes between the Congolese defence forces and the M23 [23 March Movement] armed group.  Four civilians died during the clashes and at least five others were injured.  Peacekeepers provided medical assistance to the injured at their base and later evacuated them to Goma.  The children were transferred to a centre for children in Goma.

“MONUSCO (United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in DRC) further reported since early March, the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) rebel group reportedly killed at least 97 civilians in Beni territory, in North Kivu.  Due to ongoing joint operations between the Ugandan and Congolese defence forces, UN peacekeepers do not have access south of Beni, where suspected ADF members perpetrated attacks.

“We along with our humanitarian partners provide health support, education, food, water and sanitation among other much-needed services to thousands of people in Beni and surrounding areas,” Dujarric said adding the UN was working on scaling its response.

On North Kivu he said renewed violence in the region caused the displacement of more than 800 000 men, women and children in the past year.  There are presently over six million internally displaced people in DRC.