DR Congo: Concern For Displaced Grows As Girls Shot, Woman Raped Near UN Camp
Armed militia this morning shot two young girls who were sheltered at a United Nations camp in the conflict-ridden
eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), from which the Organization’s refugee agency has been relocating
thousands of displaced people due to concerns for their safety.
The five-year-old girl died instantly and the seven-year-old was left critically injured and is fighting for her life in
a local hospital.
A woman was also raped by armed men close to the camp in Kibati, north of Goma, the day before the shooting, according
to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Expressing extreme concern for the safety of the Congolese civilians in their two camps for internally displaced persons
(IDPs) in Kibati, UNHCR
have started to voluntarily transfer IDPs to a new camp west of Goma, the capital of North Kivu.
Fighting between Government forces (FARDC) and rebel troops (CNDP) – led by renegade general Laurent Nkunda – in North
Kivu intensified at the end of 2006, forcing more than 800,000 people to flee the violence.
In August the conflict flared up again displacing some 250,000 civilians, many of whom were already uprooted from their
homes. Other armed groups, including the Mayi Mayi, have also been involved in deadly clashes, some of which have been
along ethnic lines.
“We have so far moved 616 families, or 1,780 IDPs, to sites in the Mugunga area,” UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond told reporters
in Geneva today.
“The number of persons at Kibati willing to relocate to the new Mugunga III appears to be increasing as the first two
convoys scheduled for this morning will take over 400 displaced persons,” he added.
Despite the obvious risks, many of the IDPs in Kibati camps are reluctant to move because they mostly come from villages
north of Goma and the former makeshift Kibumba site, which had sheltered some 25,000 people. The relative calm of recent
weeks has also convinced many to stay as close to the area as possible.
UNHCR reported that transfers to the newly expanded Mugunga III camp, which can now accommodate some 60,000 people, have
involved families in the most urgent need of assistance who had previously been packed into six portable warehouses that
each held 1,500 individuals.
On arrival in Mugunga III, the families are handed their luggage, plastic sheeting, sticks for constructing huts and are
allocated a plot of land to build shelter. According to the agency, two 24-hour water reservoirs have been completed in
time to meet the needs of the initial 6,000 people arriving at the site.
A health centre and police post been set up in the Mugunga III camp, and a total of 250 latrines have also been built,
while 750 more will have been constructed by the end of the week.
“Meanwhile, we continue to bring in additional aid for the displaced population in North Kivu province,” Mr. Redmond
said, adding “some 2,500 kitchen sets, 23,100 blankets and 1,364 rolls of plastic sheeting arrived from the UNHCR
emergency stockpile in Ngara, Tanzania, this week.”