UNHCR concerned about violence in North Kivu as 3,000 people flee homes

News Stories, 24 February 2009

© MONUC/M.Frechon
Internally displaced Congolese on the move in North Kivu province after an FDLR attack.

GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, February 24 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency expressed concern Tuesday about mounting violence against Congolese civilians in North Kivu province after some 3,000 people were displaced during an attack on their village.

"Since February 14, the so-called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda [FDLR] have carried out numerous attacks in Masisi, Lubero and Walikale areas in North Kivu, sparking a new wave of displacement," a UNHCR spokesman said, referring to a rebel militia composed of ethnic Hutu fighters.

"UNHCR remains extremely concerned about the increased violence against civilians in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)," he added.

Using firearms and bush knives, the FDLR has attacked Kipopo, Remeka and Kamuobe near Masisi and Kanyatsi and Busigho near Lubero, killing civilians and raping women.

Local authorities told UNHCR that some 3,000 people had been displaced in Remeka village, 20 kilometres south of Masisi, following a recent FDLR attack. Some of these displaced people are staying in churches and schools and others have taken shelter at several UNHCR-assisted sites around the town of Masisi.

A joint UN team was due on Tuesday to Kitanga to monitor and assess the needs of the newly displaced. Kitanga is located on the outskirts of Masisi.

There are also growing fears of attacks by the FDLR against civilians suspected of collaborating with the joint DRC-Rwanda military operation launched against the rebels in January. The FDLR is composed mainly of Rwandan Hutus who arrived in the DRC in the wake of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Today, some 30 percent of FDLR members are said to be Congolese Hutus.

The humanitarian situation in North Kivu is already dramatic, with some 850,000 internally displaced people. They include some 250,000 forced to flee just since last August, and many of them have been displaced multiple times.

By David Nthengwe in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo




Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

DR Congo Crisis: Urgent Appeal

Intense fighting has forced more than 64,000 Congolese to flee the country in recent months.

Donate to this crisis

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

Sri Lanka: IDPs and Returnees

During Sri Lanka's 20-year civil war more than 1 million people were uprooted from their homes or forced to flee, often repeatedly. Many found shelter in UNHCR-supported Open Relief Centers, in government welfare centers or with relatives and friends.

In February 2002, the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) signed a cease-fire accord and began a series of talks aimed at negotiating a lasting peace. By late 2003, more than 300,000 internally displaced persons had returned to their often destroyed towns and villages.

In the midst of these returns, UNHCR provided physical and legal protection to war affected civilians – along with financing a range of special projects to provide new temporary shelter, health and sanitation facilities, various community services, and quick and cheap income generation projects.

Sri Lanka: IDPs and Returnees

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

As a massive food distribution gets underway in six UNHCR-run camps for tens of thousands of internally displaced Congolese in North Kivu, the UN refugee agency continues to hand out desperately needed shelter and household items.

A four-truck UNHCR convoy carrying 33 tonnes of various aid items, including plastic sheeting, blankets, kitchen sets and jerry cans crossed Wednesday from Rwanda into Goma, the capital of the conflict-hit province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The aid, from regional emergency stockpiles in Tanzania, was scheduled for immediate distribution. The supplies arrived in Goma as the World Food Programme (WFP), with assistance from UNHCR, began distributing food to some 135,000 displaced people in the six camps run by the refugee agency near Goma.

More than 250,000 people have been displaced since the fighting resumed in August in North Kivu. Estimates are that there are now more than 1.3 million displaced people in this province alone.

Posted on 6 November 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

Since 2006, renewed conflict and general insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo's North Kivu province has forced some 400,000 people to flee their homes – the country's worst displacement crisis since the formal end of the civil war in 2003. In total, there are now some 800,000 people displaced in the province, including those uprooted by previous conflicts.

Hope for the future was raised in January 2008 when the DRC government and rival armed factions signed a peace accord. But the situation remains tense in North Kivu and tens of thousands of people still need help. UNHCR has opened sites for internally displaced people (IDPs) and distributed assistance such as blankets, plastic sheets, soap, jerry cans, firewood and other items to the four camps in the region. Relief items have also been delivered to some of the makeshift sites that have sprung up.

UNHCR staff have been engaged in protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs and other populations at risk across North Kivu.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Posted on 28 May 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

Central African Republic:  Bangui Crisis Play video

Central African Republic: Bangui Crisis

The humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic continues to deteriorate with tens of thousands seeking shelter from the violence. In the capital Bangui, the fighting and sectarian violence of the past weeks has displaced an estimated 159,000 people, with 450 killings reported there and 160 in other parts of the country, according to the Central African Red Cross Society and the Danish Refugee Council in the past weeks.
Our Sister, Our Mother - 2013 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award Laureate
Play video

Our Sister, Our Mother - 2013 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award Laureate

The 2013 winner of UNHCR`s Nansen Refugee Award is Sister Angelique Namaika, who works in the remote north east region of Democratic Republic of the Congo with survivors of displacement and abuse by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). She has helped over 2000 displaced women and girls who have suffered the most awful kidnapping and abuse, to pick up the pieces of their lives and become re-accepted by their communities.
Uganda: New Camp, New ArrivalsPlay video

Uganda: New Camp, New Arrivals

Recent fighting in eastern Congo has seen thousands of civilians flee to a new camp, Bubukwanga, in neighboring Uganda.