UN says 'more than 100,000' more displaced in DR Congo clashes

AFP , Wednesday 6 Mar 2024

Two days of fighting during which rebels captured a town in eastern DR Congo saw "more than 100,000" people flee their homes, the United Nations said Wednesday.

Displaced people in DR Congo
Nyiranzaba takes refugee with her nine children at the Kanyaruchinya site for displaced people in DR Congo. Photo courtesy of UNICEF


Some 80,000 people lived in Nyanzale town, North Kivu province, as well as tens of thousands displaced by previous clashes in the area.

On Monday the Rwandan-backed M23 (March 23 Movement) launched an offensive against several towns, extending its control northwards in the Rutshuru and Masisi areas.

At least 15 civilians, including children, were killed in Nyanzale in shelling attacks on inhabited areas Monday, according to medical sources and witnesses contacted by telephone.

An internal report by a United Nations mission Monusco, seen by AFP, accused the M23 of "firing mortar shells at the Kihondo identification camp (for displaced persons) (three kilometers from Nyanzale), wounding 12 civilians, five of whom died from their wounds".

The M23 also reportedly "fired six mortar shells" near a UN base, "wounding another civilian", the report added.

The takeover of Nyanzale by the M23 sparked the flight of "more than 100,000 people," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

After eight years of dormancy, the mainly Tutsi M23 rebellion took up arms again in late 2021, seizing large swathes of North Kivu, cutting off all land access to the North Kivu capital Goma except the Rwandan border in early February.

The UN estimated at the end of 2023 that nearly seven million people were displaced in the DRC, including 2.5 million in the province of North Kivu alone.

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