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Some 32,000 displaced by attack in South Kivu

KINSHASA, 20 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - The UN said on Tuesday that some 32,000 civilians were displaced from their homes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Kalonge Chiefdom, in Sud Kivu Province, following an attack earlier in July by Hutu Rwandans militias.

"In the village of Fendula, 90 percent of the population has fled, which is 13,000 out of 14,476 inhabitants," said Nadia L'Heureux, the information officer for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Bukavu, the provincial capital.

She said OCHA was leading an interagency mission to the chiefdom, some 100 km northwest of Bukavu, to evaluate the humanitarian situation. The mission arrived on Saturday and its evaluation is continuing.

"Many of the displaced [from Fendula] have gone to the nearby villages of Cifunzi and Rambo," L'Heureux said.

Most are living with local families there but many told members of the mission that they urgently needed food and non-food assistance, as they had been unable to bring along any items.

L'Heureux said the displaced were obliged to spend the night in the forest with their families.

She said on Wednesday that the 32,000 newly displaced in Kalonge were in addition to civilians who fled attacks in the area in February and April

Displaced people told the members of the mission that they were still too afraid of further attacks to return to their villages. Many of the women and children burned to death on 9 July by the militiamen had been raped beforehand, L'Heureux said.

The army has said it lacks transport and communication to hunt down the rebels hiding in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.

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