from HASSAN ONYANGO in Kampala, Uganda
KAMPALA, (CAJ News) – RENEWED fighting between government forces and armed opposition groups in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has displaced more than 1 100 civilians to neighbouring Uganda.
Severe clashes have been reported from last Thursday in Oicha, some 25 kilometers north of Beni town in the North Kivu Province.
The province, which has 5 million people and the second biggest in terms of population, is politically unstable and has been one of the hotspots in military conflicts in the Central African country.
The latest group of fleeing Congolese, numbering 1 161 according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), have crossed to
Uganda via Kisoro, Kanungu and Lake Albert over the weekend.
Overall, about 10 700 civilians have sought refuge in the East African country since mid-December.
Refugees are reporting attacks against civilians by Mai-Mai militia and other armed opposition groups in North Kivu.
Human rights violations include arbitrary killings, rape, abductions and looting. The army has been blamed for some disturbances.
In the Ituri area, a new cycle of inter-communal violence leading to the torching of houses by armed groups has also been reported.
Since December, UNHCR has relocated thousands of Congolese refugees to two reception centres in the western Hoima and Kyegegwa Districts.
UNHCR reported an urgent need for key services such as water and sanitation.
– CAJ News