35,000 Congolese civilians displaced by fighting in South Kivu province

July 24th, 2009 in Breaking News, Displaced Civilians

Reuters AlertNet – At least 35,000 Congolese civilians displaced by fighting in South Kivu province.

GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, July 24 (UNHCR) – An outbreak of fighting in the eastern Congolese province of South Kivu has forced more than 35,000 civilians to flee their homes in the past two weeks.

The latest population movement brings the total number of civilians to have been displaced in South Kivu since January as a result of clashes between government forces and Rwandan rebels, and reprisal attacks on civilians, to about 536,000 people.

“We are gravely concerned that the renewed fighting in South Kivu will have a negative impact on UNHCR-organized voluntary repatriation of Congolese refugees from neighbouring Tanzania, the majority of whom are from the province,” a UNHCR spokesman said on Friday.

Initial UNHCR estimates show that at least 35,000 people have been displaced in the Ruzizi River plain, where the Democratic Republic of the Congo borders Rwanda and Burundi. These people reportedly fled iafter the government launched a fresh military campaign on July 12 in the Uvira area of South Kivu. The campaign is aimed at the disarmament of the so-called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and their local militia allies.


Sources:


Reuters AlertNet - At least 35,000 Congolese civilians displaced by fighting in South Kivu province

FPI:
Reuters AlertNet - At least 35,000 Congolese civilians displaced by fighting in South Kivu province