DRC: Thousands flee as ‘horrific violence’ escalates

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The United Nations says the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is facing a “humanitarian disaster of extraordinary proportions” as violence intensifies in the southeastern Tanganyika state.

Thousands of people are fleeing as violence escalates in Tanganyika, forcing people from their homes and contributing to a sharp rise in human rights abuses, according to the UN. The organisation says more than 800 cases of human rights abuses have been reported over the first two weeks of February.

Escalating violence in Tanganyika

Spokesperson for the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), Andrej Mahecic, says that increasing violence in Tanganyika is “triggering spiralling displacement and human rights abuses”.

“Moreover, fierce clashes between the Congolese armed forces and militias have continued since the end of January, while new armed groups threaten to wreak more havoc in the province,” he said in a statement.

“People fleeing for their lives near the provincial capital Kalemie share stories of horrific violence during attacks against their villages, including killings, abductions and rape.”

Ethnic violence and armed conflict

Clashes between the DRC’s armed forces and armed rebel groups aren’t the only problem facing people in Tanganyika. An increase in ethnic violence between the Bantu, Twa, Luba and other ethnic groups.

Clashes between the Bantu and Twa ethnic groups has intensified since mid-2016 resulting in more than 400 villages being destroyed in less than a year. The number of people who fled their home in Tanganyika almost doubled between 2016 and 2017 and more than 12,000 reports of human rights violations in the area and nearby Haut Katanga were documented in 2017.

Featured image: By MONUSCO Photos – Province du Sud Kivu, RD Congo: vue aérienne d’un hélicoptère de la MONUSCO survolant un village situé sur les berges du lac Tanganyika., CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48083186

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.