New clashes spark another wave of displacement in the eastern DRC
Renewed fighting between two rival militia groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has driven more than 30,000 Congolese from their homes.
On 31 March, the so-called Popular Front for Justice in the Congo (FPJC) attacked Tcheyi, Bavi and Songolo villages in the Irumu area of Ituri district, some 50-80 km, south-east of Bunia, the administrative capital. And on 2 April, the self-styled Revolutionary Front for Peace in the Ituri (FPRI) launched a counter attack to retake Bavi.
The FPJC splintered from the FPRI in September 2008 and carried out a number of attacks, which led to displacement and human suffering in the area. The FPRI is a notorious group which has refused to participate in the peace process in the DRC. It has been blamed for major human rights violations in the Ituri.
The displaced have fled to Nyakunde and Marabo villages and are also located along the road leading to Kagaba, Chikede, Geti and Aveba, some 50-70 km south of Bunia. Many of the newly displaced include persons who were uprooted in raids mounted by the FRPI in 2006 in Ituri district and who were assisted to return to their homes by UNHCR in late 2006. The latest flare-up threatens to reverse the considerable progress made in the repatriation and resettlement of thousands of Congolese affected by previous conflicts in the area.