The notorious Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has launched fresh attacks in the Orientale province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Reports say fresh attacks have caused 3,000 people to flee.
The United Nations refugee agency today voiced concern over the recent displacement of several thousand people.
UNCHR reports one person has been killed, 17 abducted and 3,000 displaced in 20 attacks in Congo.
After a lull in LRA raids last year that resulted in improved security in the north-eastern province, new attacks on civilians have been reported during the past few weeks in the territories of Dungu, Faradje, Watsa, Niangara, Bondo and Ango.
The most recent attacks took place in the village of Bagulupa, 55 kilometres east of Dungu. The village was attacked on 10 February and again on 24 February, forcing most of the residents to flee on foot towards Dungu, the main town in Haut Uele district, according to UNHCR.
UNHCR says most newly-arrived internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Dungu have previously been displaced by LRA attacks.
Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the humanitarian conditions for the displaced are dire. IDPs in Dungu are reportedly sleeping in makeshift settlements. They lack clean drinking water and basic sanitation facilities.
To respond to the needs of the IDPs in Dungu territory, UNHCR recently distributed basic emergency items, such as plastic sheeting, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets and kitchen sets to some 200 newly-displaced people. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) distributed food as well.
Attacks by the LRA, which originated in Uganda, have intensified since January 2011 in DRC’s Orientale province, where some 35 people have been killed, 104 others abducted and an estimated 17,000 displaced.
LRA attacks are causing one of Africa’s biggest population displacements.
LRA activities in Orientale have caused the displacement of an estimated 320,000 people since 2008. Over the same period, 30,000 Congolese refugees were forced to flee to the neighbouring Central African Republic and South Sudan.
LRA-related violence is seriously hampering humanitarian work in the province as well.
The LRA has emerged in northern Uganda in the late 1990s. Reports say the group have killed, kidnapped and mutilated tens of thousands of people in a reign of terror across some of Africa’s most remote and hostile terrain.