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UN chief visits camp for displaced people in east DR Congo

AFP , Tuesday 23 Feb 2016
DR Congo unrest
People displaced from their villages where ethnic clashes took place walk along a road in search of safety on February 10, 2016 in North Kivu province (Photo: AFP)
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UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited on Tuesday a camp for displaced people in the restive east of Democratic Republic of Congo where several shelters for people fleeing conflict are under threat of closure by the authorities.

Following a trip to neighbouring Burundi, Ban travelled about 80 kilometres northeast of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province to the Mungote camp, an AFP photographer reported.

The camp located in Kitchanga, a town of 80,000 inhabitants, is home to around 15,000 people, according to the United Nations.

The UN secretary-general met with some of the women in the camp and visited a school where he shared a hot lunch with children.

The number of displaced people in DR Congo stood at 1.6 million as of late September, with North Kivu province having the biggest share at 604,000, according to the UN Office of for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The east of the vast central African nation has been plagued with armed conflicts between rival militias over ethnic and land disputes for more than 20 years.

But the future of camps for those displaced appears in jeopardy after regional authorities in January dismantled a camp at Mokoto where 4,260 people lived, the UN said.

According to OCHA, the move it described as a "mass punishment" was sparked by the discovery of a weapon in a hut and the authorities gave "the humanitarian workers only a week to inform the population."

In December 2014, it was the discovery of weapons that led the North Kivu authorities to close a camp of 2,300 people and announce they would begin closing other camps for security reasons.

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