The UN refugee agency
reports at least 125,000 people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
have been forced to flee from villages attacked by the Ugandan rebel
group, the Lord's Resistance Army, in the last three weeks. This brings
the number of people displaced in Haute Uele district of Orientale
Province by the LRA since September to more than one-half million.
U.N. refugee agency agrees that the displacement of 125,000 people in
just three weeks is a staggering figure. Spokesman, Andrej Mahecic,
says the number reflects the viciousness of the methods employed by the
Lord's Resistance Army.
rebel group is accused of widespread killings, kidnappings of civilians
and raping of women," said Mahecic. "During the same period, the
rebels have reportedly killed some 1,270 people and abducted 655
children in the Orientale province. They have also destroyed hundreds
of homes and pillaged health centers, schools and other public
Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army has a long history of brutality. In its
20-year war with the Ugandan government, the LRA caused some two
million people in the north to flee their homes. The rebel group
abducted more than 10,000 children, using them as child soldiers and
says most of the displaced are scattered around the different
villages. He says they tend to gather around larger towns or in areas
where there is a military presence and they feel a bit safer.
says the UNHCR and other aid agencies have distributed relief items
such as blankets, kitchen sets, mosquito nets and sleeping mats to
11,000 homeless people. But, he notes that aid is critically short
of meeting the huge needs.
and impassable roads continue to hamper aid agencies' ability to access
and assist the vast majority of the displaced," he said. "Moreover, as
the number of IDP's increases, friction over the meager resources has
erupted between the displaced and host families who have been stretched
to the limit. Some of the host families have been hosting the
displaced since September last when the LRA started the attacks in
UNHCR reports an estimated 8,000 Congolese have fled to neighboring
South Sudan and the Central African Republic to escape LRA attacks. It
says some 6,500 of these refugees are in southern Sudan's Western
Equatoria region, where LRA attacks in Ezo forced U.N. staff to withdraw
less than two weeks ago.