DR of Congo: violence in Bunia hampers UN’s ability to reach needy populations
According to the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), ongoing clashes between rival Hema and Lendu militia have left UN and other humanitarian actors scrambling to reach 2,000 people who had set up camp near Bunia’s airport. Two thousand more have sought shelter at MONUC compounds in town.
The two rival clans clashed in a spate of deadly firefights over the weekend, vying for control of the town. The violence left five dead, countless others wounded and a number of buildings, including UN offices, looted.
As part of a reinforced UN military presence in the area, more than 400 peacekeepers were deployed, with the total rising to 600 by the weekend. The UN forces control the airport and are patrolling parts of the town.
UN officials were to meet today with members of the Ituri Pacification Commission (IPC) – which rival militia and tribal groups agreed to set up to manage the region until a new post-war national government takes over – in an effort to restore order in the town following the withdrawal of Ugandan forces earlier this week.