8, May 2017
An average of 4,600 people flee their homes every day in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN says, warning of a dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country. A full 3.7 million people were displaced within DR Congo by the end of March – more than double the 1.6 million at the start of 2016, the United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA said. “This is a massive, massive deterioration,” Rein Paulsen, who heads OCHA’s country office in DR Congo, told reporters in Geneva.
The situation is particularly dire in the central Kasai region, where spiraling violence between government troops and tribal militias has forced 1.27 million people from their homes since last September, he said. “That’s an increase of 100,000 in the last week,” Paulsen said, describing the numbers as “shocking and dramatic.”
The fighting in Kasai erupted after government troops last August killed tribal chief Jean Pierre Mpandi, also known as Kamwina Nsapu, who had launched an uprising against President Joseph Kabila. Violence in the region has left at least 400 people dead since September. The UN has meanwhile reported finding 40 mass graves, while two UN researchers – Michael Sharp, an American, and Zaida Catalan, a dual Swedish-Chilean national – investigating the violence were abducted and shot dead. One of the victims was also beheaded.