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International NGO Medair evacuates staff from Dungu town, D.R. Congo

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All of Medair's staff in Dungu have been safely evacuated to Isiro after a deadly Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attack on the town.

On the night of 1 November, LRA rebels attacked Dungu town. Heavy fighting ensued with the Congolese army (FARDC). The UN has reported that nine people were killed, and thousands have fled the area.

Medair's staff in Dungu town were able to evacuate by motorbike, and have now safely reached the town of Isiro, where Medair has a base.

All NGOs that were working in Dungu have evacuated by road because of the insecurity. The situation on-the-ground has stabilised somewhat, but it remains extremely dangerous for civilians.

The LRA has been waging attacks in Dungu territory since mid-September, with thousands of people displaced into Dungu town. With the town itself now a conflict zone, people are fleeing and taking shelter wherever they can find it, often in the jungle.

Dungu is located in the northeast of DRC, near the Sudan border. The recent conflict in the region has been instigated by the LRA, and is separate from the conflicts occurring elsewhere in eastern Congo that have displaced thousands, most recently in Goma.

Medair has provided health care and free medicines for displaced residents in Dungu territory since the attacks began in September, and for a time was the only active NGO in the region.

Unfortunately, Medair's staff are not able to be there now, just as the situation grows increasingly dire for embattled residents. As soon as security permits, Medair will return to Dungu town to continue its vital life-saving work. On 4 November, Medair staff traveled by plane to Dungu to evaluate the situation on-the-ground and assess their plans going forward.

"Medair regrets the sudden necessity of this evacuation, but the safety and welfare of our staff are our highest priority," said John Farmer, Medair's Operations Director. "All of our evacuated staff are in good health, and will remain in Isiro while the security situation is assessed."