"Growing sense of insecurity and uncertainty" in DRC

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North Kivu province, DR Congo: Malawian soldiers of the Force Intervention Brigade on patrol between the localities of Oicha and Erengeti, in Beni territory. Photo MONUSCO/Anne Herrmann

The "growing sense of insecurity and uncertainty" in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a "source of major concern" the UN Special Representative told the Security Council on Tuesday.

Maman Sidikou pointed to the spread of violence at the hands of armed groups, often along ethnic lines, to formerly peaceful parts of the sprawling Central African country.

Matthew Wells reports.

Special Representative Sidikou said that community-based violence and inter-ethnic clashes had spread from the east of DRC to places such as the Kasai provinces.

He said the risk of election-related violence also "remained high" in urban areas and it was likely to continue due to uncertainty surrounding the country's political direction.

An agreement was signed at the end of December for President Joseph Kabila to stand down following elections, which are expected to be held before the end of 2017.

The deal rules out a change in the constitution allowing him to run for a third term.

Mr Sidikou said the UN Mission MONUSCO remained "fully engaged" in protecting and promoting human rights, which were also deteriorating along with the increase in conflict.

"The resurgence of violence in certain areas in the rest of the country has been exacerbated by the uncertain political situation as well as the manipulation of grievances for political ends. The increasing use of self-defence militia, acting along ethnic lines, points to a growing sense of insecurity and uncertainty."

He emphasized to Council members that the only way of stemming the violence was through political negotiation between government and opposition groups.

At present, he added, a total of 2.2 million Congolese were "forcibly displaced" and the 2016 international Humanitarian Response Plan had been only 60 per cent funded, so far.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’17″

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