Armed attacks kill hundreds and displace 40,000 civilians in northeastern DR Congo

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UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, warns of an alarming increase in the number of attacks by an armed group against civilians in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Since January, attacks blamed on the armed group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), have killed nearly 200 people, injured dozens more and displaced around 40,000 people in the territory of Beni in the DRC in the province of North Kivu as well as in the neighboring villages of Ituri province. .

In less than three months, the ADF reportedly attacked 25 villages, torched dozens of houses and kidnapped more than 70 people. This is in addition to the 465 Congolese killed in attacks attributed to the ADF in 2020.

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Attacks and widespread human rights violations also continue in other parts of North Kivu province.

The main reasons for these attacks are said to include reprisals by armed groups against military operations, their search for food and medicine, and accusations against communities of sharing information on ADF positions.

People forcibly displaced this month fled to the towns of Oicha, Beni and Butembo in Beni territory, and many fled on motorcycles. The majority are women and children, as the men stay to protect the properties, exposing themselves to the risk of further attacks.

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Displaced people live in dire conditions without shelter, food, water or health care. In the context of Ebola and COVID-19, the lack of access to toilets, clean water, soap and menstrual hygiene products is of particular concern. In addition, families do not have enough essential items like blankets, mats or kitchen utensils.

Before the recent mass displacement, around 100,000 internally displaced people were already in need of protection and assistance to shelter in Beni. Funding shortages have reduced UNHCR’s ability to respond with humanitarian assistance, including shelter.

In 2020, UNHCR was able to build more than 43,000 family shelters in eastern DRC. In 2021, with the funding currently available, only 4,400 families can be helped out of hundreds of thousands of people in need. Additional funds are also needed to resume a cash program for displaced women at risk that had to be cut.

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UNHCR urgently needs $ 2 million to strengthen its protection and humanitarian response in Beni, North Kivu and Irumu territory in Ituri. Currently, the US $ 33 million UNHCR needs to respond to the whole of eastern DRC is only 5.5% funded.

Armed attacks kill hundreds and displace 40,000 civilians in northeastern DR Congo - NNN.