At least 13 civilians killed in armed clashes in Rutshuru
Humanitarian response hampered by continuing violence
Clashes between the Congolese army and fighters from the armed group Mouvement du 23 mars (M23) continued in Rutshuru territory in North Kivu, affecting thousands of people, most of them women and children.
At least 13 civilians, including four children, were killed between 19 and 21 June during fighting in the localities of Bugina, Kanyabusoro, Musezero and Nkokwe, according to local authorities. Several villages in Rutshuru territory have been practically emptied of their inhabitants, some of whom have fled to Uganda. Rutshuru centre and Kiwanja continue to welcome new people from the combat zones. At least 17,000 displaced people have arrived since last March; they are currently housed in schools, stadiums and other collective spaces; many were taken in by host families. Among the new arrivals, an estimated 3,000 displaced people, including more than 1,000 people who have arrived since 12 June, are living in crowded conditions at the Rugabo stadium in Central Rutshuru. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and Congolese NGO AIDES had built 17 community shelters, but they quickly became overcrowded. Humanitarian interventions continue despite limited financial resources and humanitarian access.
Access to vulnerable populations in Rwanguba Health Zone remains particularly difficult due to the continuing fighting that has led to the closure of the road between Bunagana and Burayi since 12 June. Among others, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and its partner NGO United Volunteers for Development and Health (AVUDS) have started, since 18 June, activities to improve access to sanitation activities and increase the supply of drinking water in the collective centres of Rutshuru centre where more than 6,500 displaced people live.
In Nyiragongo territory, the security situation remains volatile despite a relative lull in the areas of Kibumba and Buhumba since late May. Food, water, essential household items are among their most pressing needs. More than 600 families whose homes were reportedly destroyed during the clashes are also in urgent need of shelter.
Since March, at least 158,000 people have suffered from displacement in the territories of Rutshuru and Nyiragongo as a result of clashes between the Congolese army and the M23.