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300,000 flee violence in northeast DR Congo: UN

By AFP

Added 18th June 2019 01:40 PM

"This latest flare-up has sent more than 300,000 people into displacement," Babar Baloch, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, told reporters in Geneva.

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President of DR Congo, Félix Tshisekedi. Photo/File

"This latest flare-up has sent more than 300,000 people into displacement," Babar Baloch, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, told reporters in Geneva.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled inter-ethnic violence in northeastern areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the past two weeks, the United Nations said Tuesday.
 
"This latest flare-up has sent more than 300,000 people into displacement," Babar Baloch, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, told reporters in Geneva.
 
The situation in DRC's volatile Ituri Province had deteriorated significantly since the middle of last week, with "multiple attacks" involving the Hema and Lendu groups, he said.
 
The cause of the flareup was not immediately clear, but it occurred in a region where tens of thousands died in clashes between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups between 1999 and 2003.
 
Baloch pointed out that attacks between the two communities had also displaced some 350,000 in late 2017 and early 2018, "but the situation had calmed".
 
He said that "large-scale displacement" had been reported in three of Ituri's five administrative territories, with people fleeing attacks and counter-attacks in Djugu territory especially.
 
Baloch cited reports that both communities were "forming self-defense groups and being involved in revenge killings.
 
"UNHCR fears this escalation could engulf large parts of the province," he added.
 
"We are gravely concerned for the safety of civilians after receiving reports of killings, kidnappings, maiming and sexual violence being unleashed against people."
 
According to the UN, most of those displaced had sought shelter within host communities, but some 30,000 had arrived at existing displacement sites, "where conditions were already dire".   

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