KINSHASA, Congo—The governor of Congo’s northeast Ituri province says two weeks of intercommunal violence have killed more than 240 people in several villages while many others have fled.
More than 300,000 others have fled their homes, according to the United Nations.
Authorities believe the perpetrators were militia fighters from the Lendu community. Congo’s military believes they are linked to Mathieu Ngudjolo, who was acquitted of war crimes at the International Criminal Court in 2012.
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“Violence in northeastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo is reported to have displaced more than 300,000 since early June. The situation in Ituri province has deteriorated since the middle of last week, with multiple attacks involving the Hema and Lendu groups,” the U.N. refugee agency spokesman Babar Baloch told a news briefing.
The UNHCR fears that the escalation could engulf large parts of the province, amid reports of killings, kidnappings and sexual violence unleashed against civilians, he said. The government is trying to bring the clashes under control, he added.
As Congolese flee violence at “this massive scale”, fears are that more people will try to seek safety in Uganda, crossing Lake Albert, Baloch said.
Untold thousands of people lost their lives in conflicts between the Lendu and Hema communities between 1999 and 2004. U.N. peacekeepers were dispatched to Congo to try to maintain order and remain in the region combatting various rebel groups.
Reuters contributed to this report.