Increased violence against civilians in
the eastern DRC has caused thousands more people to flee their towns and
villages. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says Hutu rebels are killing civilians
and raping women in North Kivu Province. The rebels fled to DRC, then Zaire,
following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
UNHCR spokesman David
Nthengwe, who's in Goma, Goma, talks about the attacks by the
FDLR rebel group.
Rwandan government and the DRC government launched a military offensive against
the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR, around the 20th
of January… And the FDLR now, it would appear…are turning their wrath…against
the civilian populations. And of late, we have received reports, we have even
gone there to verify some of these reports, (that) villages around
Masisi…Lubero and…Walikale have suffered, what appear to be, reprisal attacks
by the FDLR. This is causing new displacement," he says.
has been unable to come up with an exact figure for those who've been displaced
by the FDLR attacks. But it's known at least 3,000 have been displaced from one
village alone, about 20 kilometers south of Masisi. UNHCR estimates that as a
result of fighting in North Kivu in recent years at least one million people
have been displaced in the province.
says that various UN agencies have sent joint teams to the areas of rebel
attacks to try to locate the displaced and assess their needs.
A similar situation is taking place in
the northeastern Orientale Province, where civilians have been repeatedly
attacked by Lord's resistance Army (LRA) rebels from Uganda. Many Congolese
have tried to escape those attacks by crossing the border in south Sudan.