DR Congo

UNHCR Weekly Emergency Update - Ituri and North Kivu Provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo - 2-8 December 2019


Operational context and protection situation

Ituri Province

The situation remained volatile during the reporting week, due to intensified armed clashes in Djugu, Irumu and Mambasa territories. Armed clashes in Kpabu (Djugu Territory) led to the forced displacement of an estimated 300 persons to neighboring localities. Return movements were also observed, but returnees found their houses looted or destroyed. Attacks against community leaders and village chiefs in Djugu Territory have revived fears of insecurity. Presumed elements of an armed group accused local leaders of collaborating with state armed forces. The presence of unidentified armed men on the shores of Lake Albert, in Djugu Territory disrupted commercial, agricultural and school activities. Two fishermen were killed, seven were kidnapped and three escaped an ambush by gunmen. On 3 December, this year’s ninth targeted attack against an Ebola treatment centre, this time in Biakato (Mambasa Territory), led to the evacuation of health staff. The presence of an armed group from North Kivu in Irumu Territory led to preemptive displacements, with people hiding in forests and unable to go to their farms. Civilians continue to suffer human rights violations such as killings, lootings, abductions (including of local leaders), injuries, extortions and rape, committed by presumed elements of state armed forces, armed groups, and unidentified armed men.

BACKGROUND: Since 6 June 2019, generalized violence led to massive new displacements in Ituri Province. UNHCR and IOM recorded over 110,000 new arrivals in IDP sites in Djugu, Mahagi and Irumu territories between 31 May and 20 June. OCHA estimated that 360,000 people were displaced by the recent crisis; some 145,000 towards IDP sites and the rest to host communities. As displacements continued, Ituri’s Site Management and Coordination Working Group (CCCM) now estimates that almost 227,000 people are staying in 72 IDP sites, 12 of them coordinated by UNHCR, and housing over 82,000 individuals (17,000 households). Outside of Bunia, the largest concentrations of IDPs are found in Drodro, Rho, Fataki, Kasenyi, Tchomia and Ramogi, in Djugu, Irumu and Mahagi territories. Overall, some 1.1 million people are displaced throughout the Province according to OCHA. UNHCR’s Protection Monitoring system documented 6,970 human rights violations between January and November 2019 in Ituri.

North Kivu Province

The situation in Beni Territory remained of significant concern. Presumed elements of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed group continued to target civilians, with reported incursions in Mbau, Ndama and Nobili. Following the incursions, seven civilians were found dead on 5 December in villages around Nobili. Some 3,000 people left Beni town to settle in Makumu, Mambasa Territory (Ituri Province). On 6 December, following a homemade bomb attack by presumed ADF members in Beni the day before, provincial authorities put in place systematic searching of all vehicles and luggage. After the evacuation of most UN and humanitarian staff from Beni on 26 November, essential staff started returning as of the end of last week. UNHCR is conducting a security evaluation, and hopes to redeploy its staff to Beni as soon as possible. Some humanitarian actors (SOCOAC, Tear Fund and CNR) conducted a rapid multi-sectorial evaluation that identified 5,000 displaced families in two areas of in Beni town. The displaced persons lived in host families but their basic needs (food, household items, clothes) were not met. Meanwhile, Unicef recorded some 2,500 IDP families in Mangina, following attacks in Musandaba, Mandumbi and Biakato. Meanwhile, conflict is ongoing in the rest of North Kivu, leading 896 households to flee their villages this week in Rutshuru and Masisi territories.

BACKGROUND: Over 1.5 million IDPs are located in North Kivu Province as of October 2019. The vast majority (94%) live with host communities, while some 89,000 reside in 22 IDP sites coordinated by UNHCR or IOM. Displacements are mostly cyclical, with numerous causes including armed conflict, human rights violations committed by armed groups and state armed forces, land conflicts, inter-ethnic violence, illegal exploitation of mineral resources, and others.
Between March and early June 2019, attacks against civilians and military outposts by a prominent armed group led to significant displacements from Kamango to Nobili (Beni Territory). Until recently, OCHA estimated that 112,000 IDPs were in the Nobili area. However, as of late October, most of them have returned. In Masisi and Rutshuru territories, OCHA estimates that over 67,000 people were displaced towards host communities in May and June alone, while arrivals into several IDP sites have been significant. UNHCR’s Protection Monitoring system documented 12,311 human rights violations between January and end of November 2019 throughout the Province.