Hundreds flee attack, gather near UN peacekeepers in eastern DR of Congo

31 January 2005

About 2,500 people have fled a village they said came under attack by militias in the Ituri district in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and have gathered near United Nations peacekeepers nearby, the UN mission in the country said today.

The peacekeepers flew in by helicopter over the weekend after hearing that the village of Che, 60 kilometres from Bunia in Ituri's Djugu territory, had been set on fire and that the villagers were fleeing to safety. They reinforced their position when the number of refugees jumped to 2,500 from 120, the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) said.

Many of the villagers had been wounded with knives, machetes and arrows, so MONUC had sent in a team of doctors and provided safe water, it said. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were distributing food, blankets and clothing.

The Mission said it would ask the national transitional government and the armed militias in Ituri to find a solution together for whatever the problem was in Che.


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