IDP population rising in DRC, U.N. says

Jan. 7, 2013 at 11:56 AM
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KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of Congo said violence is a part of the daily lives of refugees in the eastern border provinces.

The U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC, known by its French initials MONUSCO, said there's been a significant increase in the number of people displaced in North Kivu province.

"All have to deal with the hostility of the local communities who suspect them of having links with the armed groups," the mission said in a statement. "Violence and harsh living conditions are the daily lot of those (internally displaced people)."

Forces from the rebel March 23 movement occupied Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu, briefly last year before pulling back. MONUSCO said it has close to 11,000 troops deployed to North Kivu and South Kivu provinces to monitor the situation.

Talks between a delegation led by M23 rebel leader Jean-Marie Runiga and DRC representatives got off to a slow start during the weekend in Uganda, reports Voice of America. Runiga skipped a Saturday session of peace talks that M23 threatened to boycott. M23 mutinied in early 2012.

The U.S government and the United Nations have sanctioned M23 and a Rwandan liberation movement for abuses carried out during the recent conflict. Rwanda last week was singled out by the U.S. government for supporting DRC rebels, an allegation the government in Kigali denies.

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