Violent attacks in DR Congo leave thousands displaced

Child playing with bike in refugee camp Child playing with bike in refugee camp Photo by Ahmed Akacha, Pexels

16 April 2021

Thousands left displaced following violent attacks between the Luba and Kuba ethnic groups in DR Congo’s Kasaï region.

According to local authorities, clashes between the Luba and Kuba ethnic groups in the Bakwakenge locality in Kasaï, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), have displaced  an estimated 21,000 people since 28 March 2021. Furthermore, there have been reports of at least 13 people killed, many injured and 190 houses burnt to the ground.

Violence in the Kasaï region in 2017 displaced 1.4 million people within the DRC and forced 35,000 refugees to seek safety in Angola. Since August 2020, there have been reports of rising tensions between the Luba and Kuba ethnic groups due to land disputes. Attacks and counter-attacks have displaced  more than 13,000 families or approximately 40,000 people last year. Many of the people who have been displaced have not been able to return to their homes due to fear of reprisals and most have left everything behind. The majority are being hosted by local communities already struggling to cope with limited resources, with some people having to sleep in the open.

UNHCR is alarmed by the resurgence in violence in DRC’s Kasaï region and is calling for a renewed focus on restoring peace to prevent further mass displacement. UNHCR is bringing in emergency supplies and in September 2020 assisted 43,000 people affected by the crisis with cash and relief items. UNHCR has reported that it urgently needs more resources to help displaced people in the region, having only received 12% of the US$204.8 million needed for its operations in the DRC.


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Author: Irina Kovacevic; Editor: Catherine Meunier

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