Kinshasa — SEVERE fighting between rival ethnic groups and the Democratic Republic of Congo Army (FARDC) has displaced thousands of civilians southeast of the country. More than 5 000 of these have fled the border to Zambia. The inter-communal skirmishes feature the Luba villagers and Twa hunter-gatherers who have a decades-long history of tensions. The latest violence in the city of Pweto, aggravated by the intervention of the army, has left a policeman killed and two others wounded. Government offices at this borer town in the Haut-Katanga Province have been ransacked and looted. An unspecified number of civilians, including two nurses, have been kidnapped. Pweto is home to 28 000 people including civilians displaced by the militancy elsewhere in the Central African country. United Nations agencies said given the scale of the conflict in the Pweto territory, humanitarian workers did not expect some improvement in the situation in the coming days. All three chiefdoms of Pweto are currently flamed by this conflict. "The consequences are likely to be uncontrollable as protection issues have become quite worrying in this area," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated. The organisation lamented the health situation of these Congolese refugees in Zambia. The biggest risk remains the outbreak of a cholera epidemic.
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