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DRCONGO: Violence leaves dozens dead, 12 stabbed in hospital beds

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VOA – An eruption of ethnic violence in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo has killed more than 24 people and left hundreds of homes burned to the ground.

Congolese officials say the fighting exploded late last week in the Ituri province between Hema and Lendu ethnic groups.

It is unclear what set off the fighting, but the two groups have been bitter enemies for decades.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the DRC says it will assess the situation.

Meanwhile, the United States has slapped sanctions on a Congolese military commander and three rebel leaders for “contributing to widespread poverty, chronic food insecurity, and population displacement.”

The U.N. Security Council sanctioned the same four men last week for human rights violations.

Monday’s action freezes all assets the four have in the United States and bars Americans from doing business with them.

“They are responsible for horrendous acts, including sexual abuse and forced military recruitment of children into positions requiring them to commit acts of violence, among other atrocities,” said the head of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, John Smith.

The four are Congolese General Muhindo Akili Mundos, and rebel leaders Gedeon Kyungu Mutanga, Guidon Shimiray Mwissa, and Lucien Nzabamwita.

12 patients stabbed in their hospital beds in DR Congo

DAILY MAIL – Unidentified assailants stabbed 12 patients in their hospital beds in the restive DR Congo city of Goma, with fears it was the work of Ugandan Islamist rebels, officials said on Tuesday.

Three of the victims were seriously hurt in the knife rampage overnight Sunday-Monday in two health centres in the Goma district of Mbosho, provincial health minister Martial Kambumbu told AFP.

“It is the first time we have seen patients being stabbed in health facilities in Goma,” said Etienne Kambale, civil society rapporteur in North Kivu province, of which Goma is the capital.

“It is surprising. We are wondering if it was the ADF who have turned up in Goma, because this is the way they killed people in Beni.”

Government forces last month launched an offensive in Beni against the Islamist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), one of a number of armed groups that hold territory in the eastern DR Congo and are battling for control of the region’s rich mineral resources.

Beni lies about 250 kilometres (150 miles) north of Goma.

Congolese authorities and the UN mission in DR Congo, MONUSCO, accuse the ADF of killing more than 700 civilians as well as combatants in the Beni region since 2014.

The group is also blamed for the killing of 14 UN peacekeepers last month, the biggest single such loss in 25 years.

12 patients stabbed in their hospital beds in DR Congo

Unidentified assailants stabbed 12 patients in their hospital beds in the restive DR Congo city of Goma, with fears it was the work of Ugandan Islamist rebels, officials said on Tuesday. Three of the victims were seriously hurt in the knife rampage overnight Sunday-Monday in two health centres in the Goma district of Mbosho, provincial health minister Martial Kambumbu told AFP.

UNHCR Briefing Notes – UNHCR sounds alert as fresh violence in DR Congo’s Ituri province displaces thousands
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
GENEVA, Switzerland, February 6, 2018/ — This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva:

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is gravely concerned about escalating violence in Ituri province of north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), creating new displacement over the last four days.

At least 30 people are reported to have been killed amid conflict between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups. Many villages have been burned to the ground in Ituri’s Djugu territory, according to initial information by UNHCR monitors in the affected areas. Fighting among the two communities had previously devastated the region from 1999 to the early 2000s, leading to large scale internal displacement and refugee movements to Uganda.

Now, UNHCR offices on both sides of the border are once more on high alert. Initial reports put the number of internally displaced in the thousands. Refugee arrivals in Uganda also picked up significantly on Monday, with 1,386 people crossing Lake Albert to the village of Sebagoro, some 270 kilometres northwest of the capital Kampala.

We fear the fighting could spread to neighboring areas, particularly because of the circulation of light weapons in the region. Meanwhile, as physical access in certain communities remains limited, the displaced populations are without any assistance, despite their urgent needs for food and other basic relief items. Greater efforts to ensure security and humanitarian access in the area are vital.

In total, some 5 million people have been displaced by conflicts in DR Congo, 4.35 million of them internally and an additional 674,879 as refugees – including into Burundi last week.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

SOURCE
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

 

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