Fighting between the army and M23 rebels in eastern DR Congo has left at least 13 civilians dead this week, the UN humanitarian affairs office said on Thursday, citing local authorities.
Among these 13 civilians killed between June 19 and 21 in several localities in the territory of Rutshuru (North Kivu province) are four children, specifies OCHA, the UN humanitarian coordination agency, in a weekly update. .
“Several villages in the territory of Rutshuru have been almost emptied of their inhabitants, some of whom have fled to Uganda”, adds the UN.
OCHA once again warns that “thousands of people” are affected by the clashes.
At least 17,000 displaced people have arrived since March in Rutshuru-centre and in the nearby town of Kiwanja, where they are housed in schools, stadiums and host families, specifies OCHA, which regrets that the operations humanitarian aid are “hindered by the persistence of violence”.
In the neighboring territory of Nyiragongo, where heavy fighting opposed the army to the M23 at the end of May, “the security situation remains volatile despite a relative lull”.
Since March, OCHA has counted at least 158,000 displaced people in Rutshuru and Nyiragongo territories.
A predominantly Tutsi rebellion defeated in 2013, the M23 took up arms again at the end of last year in eastern DRC, a region plagued by violence from multiple other armed groups for nearly 30 years.
The resurgence of the M23 has caused a new crisis between the DRC and Rwanda, with Kinshasa accusing Kigali of supporting these rebels, which Rwanda denies.