UNHCR alarmed by spike in violence against displaced persons eastern DR Congo

Dieudonné, 40, with the belongings he carried as he fled his village in Djugu territory, Democratic Republic of the Congo. He arrived at a displacement site in Bunia, Ituri province, in April 2020. /UNHCR/Lena Ellen Becker

The United Nations refugee agency has sounded an alarm over increasing violent attacks on displaced persons by armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch on Tuesday urged authorities in the country to work with support of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to improve the security situation and hold the perpetrators accountable.

According to the refugee agency, the DR Congo has one of the highest rates of internal displacement in the world. Over five million people have been uprooted by insecurity within the country’s borders, while nearly a million Congolese have sought safety in neighbouring countries as refugees.

The UNHCR says it has recorded multiple attacks by armed groups on displacement sites and villages, mainly in Djugu Territory in Ituri, in Fizi and Mwenga Territories in South Kivu province and Masisi and Rutshuru Territories, North Kivu province.

The violence has displaced more than one million people in the last six months in these areas.

The violence has worsened an already complex displacement situation in eastern DR Congo, posing a huge risk for the people who fled their homes.

Baloch also condemned attacks on health facilities, which is hampering efforts to provide medical care to survivors of the violence.

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