The precarious security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where rebel fighters are continuing attacks against several villages, is a major obstacle to assistance programmes in the area, the United Nations humanitarian arm said today.
According to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on the DRC, there are some 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country’s volatile east, with 500,000 having been uprooted since this January due to clashes between the FARDC and the rebel Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR).
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today that FDLR fighters have continued their attacks on villages and towns in the areas of Lubero, Masisi and Walikale in North Kivu province, committing atrocities that include forced labour, sexual violence, arson and looting.
“The precarious security situation continues to be a major obstacle to the implementation of humanitarian assistance programmes in North Kivu,” UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters. “Remote parts of the territories of Masisi and Walikale remain inaccessible.”
Attacks against humanitarian workers have also continued, according to OCHA. During the first half of 2009, there were 66 incidents of violence against humanitarian workers, compared to 37 incidents during the corresponding period in 2008.
Mr. Ban noted in his report that the security and humanitarian situation in eastern DRC is still a major concern, despite the recent signing of a peace pact between the Government and one of the main combatants in the fighting, the National Congress for People’s Defence (CNDP).