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Turmoil in east, clashes in Ituri and displaced crisis in Kivu

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MISNA - August 27, 2007 11:40 PM

Two people were killed and three wounded in clashes yesterday in Ituri, the strife-ridden north-eastern province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, between soldiers of the Congolese regular army (FARDC) and combatants of the Front of Nationalist Integrationists (FNI), around 100km north-east of Bunia.

Based on a first reconstruction, some FNI fighters attacked an army post, sparking the reaction of the soldiers.

Peter Karim, former FIN leader and current Colonel in the Congolese army under the peace accord with the government, the DR-Congo soldiers were attacked by a group of dissident FNI militants that refuse to take part in the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reinsertion (DDR) programme that is currently underway.

Only 400 militants (on an estimated 3,000) of the various rebel groups active in Ituri (FNI, MRC and FRPI) have so far disarmed as part of the programme. Meanwhile, the United Nations expressed concern over the weekend at the increasing number of people fleeing unrest and sporadic violence in North Kivu, in east DR-Congo along the border with Rwanda and Uganda.

Based on recent estimates, at least 160,000 people have already fled their homes and are living displaced since the start of 2007 due to wide insecurity and fear of renewed large-scale violence. Aid agencies however fear that by the end of the year the situation risks degenerating and causing another 300,000 people to flee.

Military operations have been underway for months in the area against armed formations, raising fears of a resumption of hostilities by Laurent Nkunda, a dissident army general close to Rwanda who faces an international arrest warrant, already protagonist in the past of armed violence in the area.


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