Comment by the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Cécile Pouilly, on inter-communal violence in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
GENEVA (8 February 2016) - We are alarmed by reports of escalating inter-communal violence in the Lubero and Walikale territories, North Kivu province, with at least 21 people killed, 40 wounded and 70 houses burned down over the week-end. We have also received reports of massive displacement of civilians, looting, abductions and of at least three rapes during the past few days.
Tensions between the Hutu and Nande communities, which have been increasing since November 2015, seem to have reached an alarming level with these latest incidents and could lead to large-scale violence and further displacement.
Civilians from both communities are supported by armed groups - the Hutus by the FDLR armed group (Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda) and the Nandes by traditional Mayi Mayi fighters - which makes the situation even more potentially explosive.
We call upon the Congolese Government to do its utmost to ensure the protection of civilians and eradicate the threat of armed groups. We urge all sides to exercise restraint and engage in a meaningful dialogue in order to de-escalate tensions.
For more information and media requests, please contact Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 / firstname.lastname@example.org)