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UNHCR Weekly Emergency Update - Ituri and North Kivu Provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo - 15 – 22 August 2019

Situation Report
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Operational context and protection situation

Ituri Province

During the reporting period, a relative calm was observed in Ituri Province. Attacks and killings targeting civilians continued, but on a smaller scale, in localities of Djugu and Irumu territories. UNHCR recorded 127 protection incidents in Ituri Province. This number could actually be higher, although difficult to record as some localities remain inaccessible. Overall, armed violence has decreased in much of Ituri Province compared to July. However, police is still coming under attack and armed assailants continue to pose a serious security threat in Djugu Territory. Confrontations between the army and unidentified armed men in the Mbau area, Tsokpa village, Dz'na group, in Walendu Pitsi Sector were also recorded since 18 August. The army reportedly took control of this area on August 21, but some civilian homes, schools, and health facilities were reportedly burned during the clashes. On 17 August, some 375 displaced people were forced to leave a church where they had been seeking shelter since 10 June. Some of them are now scattered in host families, and others in unfinished houses. The displaced are still reluctant to return to their home villages because of insecurity. Those who sleep in unfinished homes are exposed to bad weather and human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence. Several road axes in Djugu Territory remain too insecure, or require MONUSCO escorts to access. Humanitarian actors advocated for the opening of a MONUSCO base to facilitate access to the Jiba-Linga axis, and the base will open soon, some 4 km from Jiba.

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. Masisi Territory is particularly affected. Armed groups continued targeting civilians, protection actors, but also Rwandan refugees living in the Territory. As a direct consequence, displacement continues. The Ebola epidemic continues, with its epicenter in Beni and confirmed cases in Goma. In Beni Territory, armed groups dramatically intensified their attacks against civilians and government forces during the reporting period. In Nobili, near the Ugandan border (Beni Territory), violence has caused further displacements, and flooding has affected the displaced in the past week. Rutshuru Territory also witnessed killings over the past two weeks. In Rushaki, Rutshuru Territory, an armed group reportedly asked the population to evacuate the area because they were planning an attack against another armed group. A similar message was sent to the population of Kyaghala by yet another armed group who allegedly planned an attack too. The continuous, almost province-wide deterioration of the security situation since the second half of July is severely limiting humanitarian access.

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 1,593 protection incidents, including 577 murders, recorded by UNHCR between January and June 2019.