Local authorities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are reporting that almost 90,000 people have been uprooted from their homes following recent military operations in the region, the United Nations humanitarian arm said today.
At least six civilians have died and dozens of others have been injured in the fighting between the national army, or FARDC, and fighters associated with the Ugandan rebel group known as the Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) in the Beni territory in North Kivu province
“Since the start of the military operations, new cases of killing and other human rights abuses have been registered in the affected areas,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
In addition, villages have been looted and people forced to live in fear of being robbed or attacked in the towns of Eringeti and Mutwanga, the epicentres of the clashes.
The majority of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are staying with host families, while some are seeking refuge in schools and churches.
Protection, food, water, shelter and medicines are the most urgent needs at present, OCHA said, adding that humanitarian agencies in Beni have been mobilized to assist the displaced.
The Office added that access to the affected areas is difficult owing to a high level of insecurity in the northern area of Beni.
In an effort to boost security for the humanitarian community, the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) set up a mobile base for four days last week in Mutwanga. It is also planning to set up a mobile temporary base.
The rebel ADF started carrying out attacks inside Uganda from hideouts in the west of the country and rear bases in neighbouring DRC in 1996, but has been rarely heard of since 2004 following a major offensive by the Ugandan army against it.
The group is one of several foreign armed factions operating in eastern DRC, including the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which also has its roots in Uganda, and the Rwandan Forces démocratiques pour la libération du Rwanda (FDLR).