Friday, December 14, 2012

Nearly One Million People Displaced by Fighting in Eastern DRC

About one million people displaced by fighting in E Congo: UN official

Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:40PM GMT

A United Nations official says more than 400,000 people have been displaced as a result of fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since April, bringing the total number of people affected by conflict this year to about one million.

At least 914,000 people have been displaced in the aftermath of fighting between the March 23 movement (M23) rebels and the Congolese army around the country’s eastern city of Goma, said Gert Weskereen, an official with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday.

The rebels seized Goma on November 20 after UN peacekeepers gave up the battle for the frontier city of one million people, which is the capital of North Kivu province. The rebels withdrew from the city 11 days later under a ceasefire accord.

The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April in protest over alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.

Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on for over a decade and left over 5.5 million people dead.

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