Death toll rises to 18 in bombing on IDP camps in eastern DR Congo-Xinhua

Death toll rises to 18 in bombing on IDP camps in eastern DR Congo

Source: Xinhua| 2024-05-07 20:13:15|Editor: huaxia

KINSHASA, May 7 (Xinhua) -- At least 18 people have been killed in recent bombing on four sites for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Tuesday, warning of more shellings on civilians.

According to an OCHA report, 18 deaths have been reported after at least five rockets fell last Friday in and around four IDP sites in the outlying neighborhoods of Goma, the capital of the DRC's eastern province of North Kivu.

Thirty-two displaced people were injured, including 27 in serious condition, mostly women and children, OCHA said, citing the provincial health division of North Kivu.

Initially, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) put the death toll at 12.

"The civilian population of North Kivu province has witnessed the worst humanitarian violations for over two years in this bloody attrition," Angele Dikongue-Atangana, the UNHCR representative to the DRC, said in a statement issued shortly after the attack on IDP sites.

On Tuesday, OCHA said the risk of further shell explosions "cannot be ruled out," with one of the fallen shells still remaining unexploded in the ground, and escalation of hostilities in areas surrounding IDP camps.

The sites bombed last Friday are located on the axis between Goma and the city of Sake, one of the epicenters of hostilities between the DRC military and rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23).

Sake is considered the last barrier to the city of Goma.

"Several people displaced in sites on the Goma-Sake axis are thus exposed to high risks of insecurity and protection," OCHA said, adding that humanitarian access has been "further restricted" with the persistence of fighting.

The DRC government blamed the attacks on M23 rebels, who have taken control of some part of North Kivu.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO, called on all parties to take appropriate measures to reduce risks to the protection of civilians and maintain humanitarian access.

MONUSCO is expected to leave the DRC no later than the end of 2024, by handing over UN bases and equipment to DRC security forces under a three-phase departure plan.

The chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, on Monday condemned the attacks on the IDP sites and reiterated his support for efforts aimed at achieving a lasting peace in eastern DRC and throughout the Great Lakes region.