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Fighting Hampers Aid Efforts to Thousands in Eastern DRC

The latest outbreak of fighting between the national army of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the forces of renegade General Laurent Nkunda is hampering efforts to deliver aid to the region.

Analysts say a recent meeting between Rwandan and Congolese officials to minimize tension did not achieve the breakthrough that would firmly deal with the rebellion in the eastern DRC.

The World Food Program (WFP) as well as The UN High Commission for Refugees) UNHCR) have expressed concern over the plight of thousands of civilians forced to flee the fighting in the North Kivu Province.

Jens Hesemann is the External Relation Officer of UNHCR in the DRC. He spoke with VOA reporter Akwei Thompson from the capital Kinsasa.

“The latest violence in Congo’s North Kivu province has not only hampered aid efforts, it is actually at the source of the humanitarian crisis which we now have in the province.”

Hesemann estimated that fighting in last few weeks have resulted in about 50 thousand people being displaced from their homes in Mungunga, about 50km west of Goma, as well as some other localities with rising displacement numbers.

He hopes there will be a negotiated solution to the conflict. The recent ceasefire “ is helping the situation, I mean we can consider ourselves already lucky that we can access Mugunda which for some days last week we couldn’t…” he said.