UNHCR field offices reporting rise in LRA attacks, displacement in CAR

Briefing Notes, 14 May 2010

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 14 May 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR is alarmed by reports we are receiving from our field offices of a dramatic rise in the frequency and brutality of attacks by the the Ugandan armed group known as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) against civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and the Central Africa Republic.

Between March 20th and May 6th, there were at least ten LRA raids in southern CAR's Haut-Mbomou province on the villages of Mboki, Agoumar, Guerekindo, Bouete, Kitessa and Miskine. Thirty-six people were killed, houses were burned, and 10,000 people were uprooted with 411 people fleeing across the border into DRC. The newly displaced are concentrated in the towns of Bangassou, Rafai, and Zemio and also in Mboki.

In the DRC, the latest large-scale LRA attack is reported to have occurred between 22 and 26 February in Kpanga, some 60 km north Niangara, in Bas-Uele district of Orientale province in eastern DRC. The LRA is reported to have killed up to 100 men, women and children. This is an area that has repeatedly suffered from LRA violence.

In Sudan, LRA attacks have centred on the Central and Western Equatoria regions, bordering Uganda, DRC and the CAR. Since August 2009, the LRA has carried out renewed incursions, which have forced the relocation of refugees, the displacement of the local population and seriously disrupted the movement of humanitarian assistance. On 6 April, the group raided the Ezo Napere refugee settlement in Western Equatoria, killing a male refugee and injuring another. The attack was repulsed by members of the South Sudan police force.

Roving bands of LRA combatants often prey on unprotected villages in remote areas with very poor roads and communications. As a result, some of the group's atrocities remain unknown for long periods.

The epicentre of LRA atrocities is the two districts of Haut-Uele and Bas-Uele in Orientale province in the DRC, where since December 2008 it has killed over 1,800 people, abducted some 2,500 others, and displaced 280,000 people, the majority of them in 2009. It has also forced nearly 20,000 Congolese to seek refuge in Sudan and the CAR.

In Sudan, the LRA is said to have caused the deaths of some 2,500 people and internally displaced another 87,800, mostly in Central and Western Equatoria.

The LRA sprung up in Uganda in 1986, established its first base in Sudan in 1993, and spread to the DRC in 2005, before moving further north into the CAR in 2009.

In the CAR, the UN Taskforce on IDPs, of which UNHCR is a member, is making arrangements to deliver as quickly as we can water and sanitation facilities and services, food, plastic sheets, blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, sanitary kits and soap to the newly displaced in Haute-Mbomou province. An assessment mission will be on its way to Zemio this weekend, where we have IDPs on one side and refugees from the DRC on the other.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

A Time Between: Moving on from Internal Displacement in Uganda

This document examines the situation of IDPs in Acholiland in northern Uganda, through the stories of individuals who have lived through conflict and displacement.

Internally Displaced People

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

Central African Republic: Urgent Appeal

You can help save the lives of thousands of refugees

Donate to this crisis

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

Crisis in the Central African Republic

Little has been reported about the humanitarian crisis in the northern part of the Central African Republic (CAR), where at least 295,000 people have been forced out of their homes since mid-2005. An estimated 197,000 are internally displaced, while 98,000 have fled to Chad, Cameroon or Sudan. They are the victims of fighting between rebel groups and government forces.

Many of the internally displaced live in the bush close to their villages. They build shelters from hay, grow vegetables and even start bush schools for their children. But access to clean water and health care remains a huge problem. Many children suffer from diarrhoea and malaria but their parents are too scared to take them to hospitals or clinics for treatment.

Cattle herders in northern CAR are menaced by the zaraguina, bandits who kidnap children for ransom. The villagers must sell off their livestock to pay.

Posted on 21 February 2008

Crisis in the Central African Republic

Battling the Elements in Chad

More than 180,000 Sudanese refugees have fled violence in Sudan's Darfur region, crossing the border to the remote desert of eastern Chad.

It is one of the most inhospitable environments UNHCR has ever had to work in. Vast distances, extremely poor road conditions, scorching daytime temperatures, sandstorms, the scarcity of vegetation and firewood, and severe shortages of drinkable water have been major challenges since the beginning of the operation. Now, heavy seasonal rains are falling, cutting off the few usable roads, flooding areas where refugees had set up makeshift shelters, and delaying the delivery of relief supplies.

Despite the enormous environmental challenges, UNHCR has so far managed to establish nine camps and relocate the vast majority of the refugees who are willing to move from the volatile border.

Battling the Elements in Chad

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Ahead of South Sudan's landmark January 9, 2011 referendum on independence, tens of thousands of southern Sudanese in the North packed their belongings and made the long trek south. UNHCR set up way stations at key points along the route to provide food and shelter to the travellers during their arduous journey. Several reports of rapes and attacks on travellers reinforced the need for these reception centres, where women, children and people living with disabilities can spend the night. UNHCR has made contingency plans in the event of mass displacement after the vote, including the stockpiling of shelter and basic provisions for up to 50,000 people.

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Joint Appeal: Help Needed for Central African RefugeesPlay video

Joint Appeal: Help Needed for Central African Refugees

The UN refugee agency and its partners appealed for more donor support to cope with the continuing outflow and deteriorating condition of refugees from the Central African Republic.
UNHCR's Dr. Paul Spiegel on the Border of CAR  and CameroonPlay video

UNHCR's Dr. Paul Spiegel on the Border of CAR and Cameroon

This video was shot by one of our staff* using a mobile phone as they helped refugees who had crossed the river to safety.
Uganda: Unique Approach For South SudanesePlay video

Uganda: Unique Approach For South Sudanese

Uganda has taken in thousands of South Sudanese refugees fleeing conflict. The government is helping the new arrivals by giving them land on which to build a shelter.