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UNHCR deplores brutal attacks on displaced people in DR Congo

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UNHCR deplores brutal attacks on displaced people in DR Congo

12 June 2023 Also available in:
People stand near a row of white tents on a hillside at dusk.

Dusk falls at a displacement site for internally displaced people in DR Congo's Ituri province, pictured in March 2022.

GENEVA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is shocked by the latest in a series of callous attacks on forcibly displaced people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by non-state armed groups. These brutal acts of violence have resulted in the loss of innocent lives and the mass displacement of vulnerable individuals and families.

In the most recent attack, which took place on 12 June in the Lala displacement site in Ituri province, armed assailants targeted civilians, leaving a trail of destruction and devastation. The armed group carried out its assault using guns and machetes, resulting in the tragic deaths of at least 45 people, including children and women. At least 12 people were burned alive as their shelters were set ablaze.

“UNHCR deplores in the strongest terms these heinous attacks against vulnerable civilian populations,” said Valentin Tapsoba, Director of UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Southern Africa. ''This cycle of violence must end. We are calling for collective efforts to pacify the conflict in the Ituri province so that the Congolese people can return to their homes and their livelihoods and live in peace.”

Despite the volatile security situation, UNHCR and its humanitarian partners remain committed to providing life-saving assistance and protection to affected populations. Response activities are underway to address the immediate needs of displaced individuals, including shelter, food, and psychosocial support for those traumatized during the attack.

The resurgence of violence in the region is deeply concerning and underscores the urgent need for sustained efforts to address the causes of conflict and promote lasting peace and stability. UNHCR reiterates its call for all actors involved to respect the civilian and humanitarian nature of displacement sites and ensure the safety and well-being of displaced populations.

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