/ 2 December 2009

UN: More than 90 000 flee DRC violence

More than 92 000 people have fled sectarian violence that erupted in October in the north-west of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.

According to statistics from the DRC’s Interior Ministry, quoted by the UNHCR, 54 000 have taken refuge in neighbouring Congo, while 38 000 people have been displaced inside the country.

”While the refugees in Congo-Brazzaville have received assistance, the internally displaced people are still without help,” UN spokesperson Francesca Fontanini said.

Humanitarian agencies are ”waiting to get government assurances on security”, but also to find modes of transportation to deliver aid to isolated villages, she added.

The refugees and displaced people fled inter-ethnic violence that erupted last month in Dongo, on the banks of the Oubangi River, which separates the DRC from Congo-Brazzaville.

The clashes broke out on October 29 and 30 between the Lobala, or Enyele, people and the Bamboma (or Boba) people, who come respectively from the villages of Enyele and Monzaya, but are also installed in other nearby places.

For years, these ethnic groups have argued the right to waters rich in fish and the dispute has flared up into violence. The UN says people have been killed with machetes and firearms. — Sapa-AFP