People have fled due to fighting between the Congolese army and militias as well as fear of reprisals by both sides against the population, the agency said in a report published on its website Friday. The number of displaced has increased by 60 percent since UNOCHA first reported on the crisis on April 3.
The fighting between Congolese security forces and militiamen has claimed hundreds of lives in the usually stable Kasai-Central province in the last six months and already spread to five surrounding provinces. While the UN has more than 19,000 peace keepers in Congo, their presence is limited in the country’s center, restricting the ability of humanitarian organizations to safely respond to the crisis, UNOCHA said.
Last month, an American and a Swedish researcher were killed in Kasai Central, along with their Congolese interpreter while investigating the conflict.