The UN said on Tuesday that over the course of three days last week, armed groups attacked people in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, claiming at least 40 lives.
It was reported that the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) was “sounding the alarm on a significant escalation of violence” in the region.
In the former Zaire’s eastern area, where Ituri is situated, armed groups have tormented villagers for decades as a result of local conflicts that erupted in the 1990s and 2000s.
“In the past week, at least 40 civilians were killed in the span of three days in attacks by armed groups near the city of Bunia,” Ocha said.
“Overall, more than 600 civilians have been killed in Ituri this year, while some 345,000 have been displaced,” it said.
“We strongly condemn this violence and call on all parties to adhere to international humanitarian law and human rights principles,” Ocha said.
In the first quarter of 2023, the UN and its partners supported 460,000 people in Ituri, but a representative said the UN humanitarian response plan for the DRC is only 30 percent funded.
“We urge the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of the DRC and provide the support needed to address this spiraling humanitarian crisis,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general.