Over 110,000 People Living In Villages Captured By M23 Rebels In DR Congo

People who have not fled the advance of rebels in Eastern DR Congo are at risk of violence, forced recruitment and looting, say human rights observers. Many have not left because they lack the funds to live as displaced people elsewhere in the country.

There are over 110,000 people living in villages currently under the occupation of the March 23 (M23) rebels in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says. 

Some 110,128 people are at risk of being subjected to violence, including torture, forced recruitment, looting of houses and shops, theft of goods and cattle as well as other human rights abuses, according to the organization.

The IOM reports that besides the destruction of houses in the 139 villages under occupation, some rogue inhabitants have taken advantage of the security vacuum created by the absence of constituted authority to subject the residents to banditry, theft and arbitrary violence.

“Investigators anticipate a deterioration of the socio-economic situation if the situation is not rapidly controlled, with the collapse of the agricultural system and the exchange of goods and service market, including administrative and social services,” the IOM reports.

Households who have not fled from the zones controlled by M23 in spite of the security threat, because they have limited economic resources to support their long-term displacement. Many circumstances link them to their community and they fear the trauma that may come from being displaced. They also may have  ethnic or social links with the occupying armed group, according to the IOM.

SEO: M23 March 23 Democratic Republic of Congo Eastern Congo DRC, displaced people, Congo Rebels

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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