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UNHCR Weekly Emergency Update - Ituri and North Kivu Provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo - 30 August – 5 September 2019

Situation Report
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Operational context and protection situation

Ituri Province

During the reporting period, clashes continued between different armed groups, affecting the local population. Three people were killed on 26 August and another wounded by unknown assailants with machetes in a village about 10km from Mongbwalu commune, Djugu Territory. According to local sources, the presence of assailants was reported in several parts of Djugu Territory. On the night of 1 September, unidentified gunmen raided Kpatiz village, mainly inhabited by IDPs and returnees. Three people were killed including two children, animals were stolen, and two huts were burned down. Fearing for their safety, about 300 households from Kpatiz village and neighboring localities (Loyi and Lokpa) spent the night in the bush. In addition, local population movements from the village of Bulinia to the town of Boga, 14km to the west in Irumu Territory, were reported on 4 September, due to fears of a possible attack. Recurrent clashes between the Congolese army and different armed groups are creating deep fears among IDPs.

BACKGROUND: Since 6 June, generalized violence has 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 now estimates that 360,000 people were displaced by the recent crisis; some 145,000 towards IDP sites and the rest (215,000) in host communities. Outside of Bunia, the largest concentrations of IDPs are found in Drodro, Rho, Fataki, Kasenyi and Tchomia, in Djugu and Irumu territories. In Mahagi Territory, there is a large concentration of IDPs in Ramogi. In June, 8,647 people also fled to Uganda according to UNHCR’s Uganda office, nearly doubling the number of daily crossings compared to May 2019.

North Kivu Province

Overall, the security situation in North Kivu remains extremely volatile. Sporadic clashes between the Congolese army and armed groups continue inside Petit Nord, especially in Rutshuru, Masisi and Walikale territories. Armed groups continued targeting civilians and protection actors, as well as Rwandan refugees. As a direct consequence, displacement from conflict-affected areas into host communities and IDP sites continues. The current epicenter of the Ebola epidemic is once again in Beni. In Beni and surrounding areas, intensified armed group presence and criminal activities continue, impacting negatively the population. Several incidents were reported during the week under review, including armed group attacks on national police, lootings, burglaries and kidnappings. In Butembo, criminality persists with the spreading presence of a militia. Rutshuru Territory faces a scale-up in fighting between armed groups, including agains the Congolese army. Those armed conflicts continue to be a security concern along road axes. In addition, unidentified individuals threatened the WHO’s Ebola monitoring and decontamination team in Butembo town on 31 August. The continuous, almost province-wide deterioration of the security situation since the second half of July is severely limiting humanitarian access. Access for UNHCR is still possible but under severe challenges.

BACKGROUND: Since 30 March, and with a sharp intensification as of 7 May, attacks against civilians and military outposts by members of rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), led to significant displacements from the town of Kamango towards the town of Nobili (Beni Territory), near the DRC border with Uganda. As of 24 June, 94,612 displaced people (15,991 households) had been registered in Nobili and 9 surrounding localities, but displacements continue. In host communities OCHA estimates that over 67,000 were newly displaced in May and June, while arrival numbers into several IDP sites have been significant. During July alone, UNHCR and the National Refugee Commission (CNR) recorded 5,256 new IDPs (1,225 households) in 8 IDP sites in Masisi, with the most (2,754 persons) having arrived to Bukombo site. In Masisi the security situation has deteriorated sharply since the beginning of the year, with 1,960 protection incidents, including 90 murders, recorded by UNHCR between January and July 2019.