More Congolese fleeing insecurity, suffering in North Kivu

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Dr Congo refugee camp

Over 100,000 civilians have now been pushed out of their homes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as fighting between various armed groups in the North Kivu province continues to escalate, according to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.

The fighting between government troops, FDLR rebel group and local militia intensified in November last year displacing thousands of civilians.

UNHCR says this year alone, over 3,000 civilians from North Kivu province have fled into south western Uganda to escape the violence.

Adrian Edwards from UNHCR says there were reports of atrocities and human rights abuses committed by the armed groups.

"Those arriving in Uganda are mostly farming people, and we are hearing from them accounts of abductions, looting, harassment, and rape. UNHCR fears that further deterioration of the security situation will bring to a halt the tripartite process initiated by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and UNHCR in October 2010, to pave the way for the voluntary return of Congolese refugees living in Uganda. When the tripartite agreement was signed, 32,000 out of the 81,000 Congolese refugees living in Uganda had expressed a wish to return home. More than 7,000 returned spontaneously to DRC in 2010 and 2011. Renewed violence is forcing many of them back to Uganda."

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