Civilians in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) villages are continuing to flee repeat reprisal attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The attacks have been provoked by ongoing anti-LRA operations by the DRC army in the region, according to locals.
"The LRA continues to attack the villages, which they burn and loot, and kidnap civilians," Leandres Bwilu, the administrator of the worst-affected territory of Dungu, in Orientale Province, told IRIN.
Humanitarian officials said those affected had not been assisted due to a lack of access.
"More than 1,500 displaced people, who are until now without assistance, arrived in Dingila [village] fleeing the latest LRA attacks on several villages," said a humanitarian official who requested anonymity.
The official said the village of Dakwa, 420km east of Dungu, was among those attacked.
"Suspected LRA elements attacked Dingila; they looted and kidnapped [an unknown number of] civilians," said Francesca Fontanini, external relations officer for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
The last attack was on 6 June. "It caused panic in the villages of Dungwe and Dakwa, from where the residents have fled," Fontanini said.
Radio Okapi, run by the UN Mission in the DRC, reported that the village of Rudu, where one person was killed, had been abandoned after the attack. It also said that at least 800 people had crossed the border to seek refuge in Southern Sudan.
Some 16,000 Congolese have crossed into Southern Sudan since January because of the attacks, said Fontanini.
She said the zones under LRA assault were difficult to access due to a lack of roads. The area also lacks adequate telephone coverage, making communication difficult.
"The humanitarian response is not easy but the humanitarian [workers] carried out [aid] drops last week; we sent to Dungu part of the aid from Entebbe, Uganda, and we are looking to distribute [where access is available]," she said.
The LRA have intensified attacks against civilians in the northeast since the end of December 2008 after the Congolese army, with the forces of Uganda and Southern Sudan, launched offensives against the rebels.
Aid officials in May reported that at least 12,000 people had been displaced in fresh LRA attacks.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions