New York, 9 February 2022 (TDI): As a result of recent deadly attacks on internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, has called on the government to ensure civilian protection.

According to the UN spokesperson, Liz Throssell, “there is a significant risk that other IDP sites may also be attacked following the deadly attacks last week and the attempts over the weekend.

OHCHR is extremely concerned by the recurrence of deadly ethnically motivated attacks against camps in eastern DRC.

Waves of attack
Attacks on displaced camps in DR Congo
Attacks on displaced camps in DR Congo left kids with no home to come back.

One of the most recent executions occurred last week when the armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO). It was made up of various Lendu militias, executed 62 people at the Plaine Savo site in Ituri province.

All the victims are members of the ethnic community of Hema. They were either shot or attacked with machetes and knives.

OHCHR said this was the latest in a string of CODECO raids carried out in Ituri province. In there, the tensions between Hema and Lendu communities have existed for years.

Between November 19 and 28, last year, the group also attacked four other sites. These include the village of Drodro. As many as 58 members of the Hema community were killed, including at least nine women and four children.

At least 106 people were killed, 16 injured, and at least seven women were subjected to sexual violence during ten attacks on IDP sites in 2021 in Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu, according to Throssell.

A Fear of Retaliation  

Additionally, along with the concern that other IDP sites could be attacked, particularly Loda and Djaiba, both of which are near Plaine Savo and are home to members of the Hema community, the OHCHR warned of the grave risk of retaliation by the Ituri Self-Defense Popular Front (FPAC-Zaire) armed group, mostly composed of members of the Hema community.

The Congolese military authorities have launched a preliminary investigation into the attack on Plaine Savo, according to Throssell.

MONUSCO is equally available to provide technical and logistical assistance for these investigations and potential prosecutions.

Attacks on displaced camps in DR Congo
Many people from DR Congo conglomerated receive humanitarian support after being displaced due to conflicts in the country.

“We commend the government for ensuring that victims’ access to remedy is guaranteed by ensuring that the investigations are independent, effective, and transparent. Also, investigating other attacks on IDP camps and ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice,” she added.

United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

On July 1, 2010, MONUSCO assumed control over an earlier UN peacekeeping operation—the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). The modern phase reached by the country was reflected in resolution 1925 of the Security Council on May 28th.

A new mission has been authorized to employ all necessary means to fulfill its mandate. These include the protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel, and human rights defenders under the imminent threat of physical violence. In addition to the assistance of the DRC government in its stabilization and peace-building efforts.