BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Thursday, 2 January, 2003, 22:50 GMT
Thousands flee DR Congo fighting
Refugees from DR Congo
Thousands more civilians face misery

Recent fighting between rival rebel factions in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has forced more than 110,000 people to flee their homes, aid agencies say.

There was panic as the frontline got nearer

Nicholas Louis
MSF
Even though the rebel factions battling for control of the region signed a ceasefire agreement on Monday, the area around the mineral-rich town of Beni, near the border with Uganda, remains tense.

Fighting between the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) and two rival factions of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) - another rebel group - broke out two weeks ago, just after all sides agreed to a power-sharing deal.

Humanitarian agencies supplying desperately needed food and medical supplies to residents say many are still on the move.

Appalling abuse

Nicholas Louis from the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, told the BBC from Beni that people had run away from their homes terrified of the soldiers who started their advance on the town in the week before Christmas.

"There was panic as the frontline got nearer, and they simply voted with their feet," he said.

Mr Louis said the displaced include many pygmy hunter-gatherers who, for the first time in their lives, had been forced out of their forest homes.

Unarmed UN observers monitoring the ceasefire reported no new incidents of fighting on Thursday. But a spokesman in Kinshasa said they remained concerned by the situation.

No casualty figures have yet been given for the fighting, but church leaders and aid workers in the region fear that appalling human rights violations have been committed.


Key stories

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

30 Dec 02 | Africa
23 Dec 02 | Africa
20 Dec 02 | Africa
17 Dec 02 | Africa
04 Dec 02 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes