Some 80,000 people have been driven out of their homes over the past month, in a fresh fighting that broke out in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The United Nations reported on Wednesday that, repeated clashes have occurred between the national army and rebel forces.
"Cases of rape, kidnappings and other abuses by armed men have been reported," said Madnodje Mounoubai, the spokesperson for the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). He warned that the population was living in precarious conditions.
"Entire villages have been emptied of their populations. Many of those displaced, fearing violence from the belligerents, are believed to still be in the forests in inaccessible areas," he said,
Mounoubai stressed that humanitarian organizations were very concerned with the situation in the Ituri region of Orientale Province where the national army and the Front patriotique de l'Ituri (FRPI) - the Ituri Patriotic Front - have repeatedly clashed since Aug 22.
The new outbreak of violence is to the north of the Goma region.
MONUSCO unit has been helping the national army battle another rebel group, the M23, in North Kivu Province. As reported earlier, MONUSCO and the national army had pushed back the M23 from Goma, inflicting losses on the rebel group which paved the way for M23 to resume talks with the Government.
The U.N. envoy said 120,000 people in all have been affected by the violence in the Irumu region of Ituri. The fighting has resulted in destruction of homes and the looting of property.
Sporadic fighting between the national army and the FPRI rebels broke out recently with either side using heavy machine guns, mortars and rocket launchers, the U.N. news release said.
Over the past year, the report said, fighting with the M23 has displaced more than 100,000 people.
The exacerbating humanitarian crisis in the region already includes 2.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have been driven from their homes in clashes with other rebel groups and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid, the report added.
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