Congo-Kinshasa: Rebel Groups Displace Thousands More

Kinshasa — MORE than 100 000 people have fled their homes following attacks by armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Attacks are persistent in the North Kivu province where recently, five mutilated bodies, including three children, were discovered in a river. They had been kidnapped at a refugee site.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) teams visiting the area have also received reports of rape and child recruitment by armed groups.

It is estimated that up to 60 000 people fled in April as a result of fresh fighting around Kamango near the town of Beni.

In the same month, an estimated 50 000 people fled the neighbouring Lubero territory, where the Congolese Army was fighting Mai-Mai armed groups.

"The displaced are in a desperate situation, and access to them is being hampered by the volatile situation," Babar Baloch, UNHCR spokesperson said.

North Kivu remains one of DRC's most displacement affected regions with an estimated displaced population of over 1 million.

It also has the country's highest number of reported incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.

Baloch said lack of funds for basic humanitarian support such as shelter or help for women at risk of sexual violence and exploitation was hampering UNHCR's intervention.

The refugee agency has appealed for US$47 million (R675 million) for the response to internal displacement in DRC for 2019.

It has only received US$6,2 million (R89 million) in contributions.

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