Fears over escalation of inter-communal violence in eastern DRC

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Soldiers from DRC governmental forces on patrol during joint operations against FDLR
Photo: MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti

At least 21 people were killed and 40 others wounded over the past weekend following an escalation in inter-communal violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

That information comes from the UN human rights office (OHCHR) which is afraid that the situation in North Kivu province could become even more serious because armed groups are involved.

OHCHR said it has received reports of massive civilian displacement, looting, abductions and rape, over the past days.

Dianne Penn has more.

The UN human rights office, OHCHR, has released a statement expressing its alarm over the reports of violence in two territories in North Kivu province in the eastern DRC.

The fighting is between two populations—the Hutus and the Nandes—who are being supported by armed groups which, it said, could make the situation "even more potentially explosive."

The Hutus are being backed by the FDLR, the French acronym for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, some members of which were responsible for the 1994 genocide in that country.

The Nandes are receiving support from traditional Mayi Mayi fighters, the name given to various local or community-based militias.

Cécile Pouilly is a spokesperson with the UN Human Rights Office:

"Tensions between the Hutu and Nande communities, which have been increasing since November 2015, seem to have reached an alarming level with these latest incidents and could lead to large-scale violence and further displacement.” 

The UN human rights office has called on the DRC government to ensure the protection of civilians and to eradicate the threat of armed groups.

It has also urged all sides to exercise restraint and to work to de-escalate tensions.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'21"

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