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UN peacekeeping mission chief in DR Congo warns of humanitarian crisis

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Bintou Keita, head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, informed the Security Council that fighting worsened in the country since the conclusion of the last elections.

Keita warned that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the central African country.

The situation in the east DR Congo further deteriorated since the end of the elections with the M23 making significant advances, she said. “This has resulted in an even more disastrous humanitarian situation, with internal displacement reaching unparalleled numbers.”

Some 7.1 million people are internally displaced, according to the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, or 800,000 more since she last briefed the Council three months ago.

Keita also condemned the recent attacks on members of the peacekeeping force, known as MONUSCO.

UN peacekeepers have come under direct and indirect fire “almost on a daily basis.” Recently, mortar fire from M23-occupied positions landed on MONUSCO bases in Sake, wounding eight peacekeepers and six civilian staff, she noted.

Earlier this year, the peacekeeping mission started withdrawing its troops from the country, handing them over to Congolese authorities.

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