A fresh violence has erupted in eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), displacing more than 100,000 civilians the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu.
The UN refugee Agency UNHCR says the clashes are reported to have begun in November last year.
There were an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of July 2011, the vast majority of them in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. This included over 128,000 people newly displaced in the first quarter of 2011.
Most fled their homes to escape fighting between rebel groups and the Congolese armed forces, while others were victims of direct attacks and violence perpetrated by the warring parties or by other armed individuals.
The United Nations refugee agency today voiced concern over the massive displacement of civilians due renewed clashes between government troops, rebel groups and local militia.
According to Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at least 22 people have reportedly been killed and an unknown number of women raped.
In the Shabunda region of South Kivu, close to 70,000 people have been displaced since November.
“We are working with our partners to address the needs of the displaced as we gain access to them. This includes providing shelter, clean water, food and health care.In addition to the material assistance, our colleagues on the ground are also providing psycho-social support to survivors of rape and other traumas caused by the violence.” -Mr. Edwards
A peace agreement in 2003 formally brought years of war to a close, but fighting flared again in North Kivu that same year. An estimated 1.3 million IDPs remain in the DRC, while 350,000 Congolese have fled to other countries.