DRC refugee crisis out of control

Aug. 23, 2013 at 12:33 PM
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KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The International Organization for Migration said the refugee crisis in parts of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is out of control.

The U.N. Stabilization Mission in DRC, known by its French initials MONUSCO, said this week it stepped up its activity in response to fighting among at least four armed groups in eastern DRC.

One of the groups, the March 23 Movement, is suspected of committing crimes against humanity. M23 leader Bosco Ntaganda surrendered to the International Criminal Court this year to face war crimes charges.

Flora Camain, a spokeswoman for IOM, told the U.N. Integrated Regional Information Networks the refugee crisis emerging from the conflict was out of control.

"Goma [the capital of North Kivu province] is full," she said. "There's no room left."

MONUSCO estimates more than 1 million civilians are living as refugees in eastern DRC. The peacekeeping mission said this week it was sheltering around 1,000 people from violence at an eastern DRC base camp.

M23 seized control of parts of eastern DRC last year. Rebels later retreated under the eye of the U.N. peacekeeping mission. Rwanda is suspected of backing the movement, an allegation the government denies.

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