35 civilians killed in DRC as deteriorating situation delays aid

A humanitarian transport plane takes off on the dirt runway of Mahagi airport in northern Ituri province on Jan 14, 2022. in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo. (ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

UNITED NATIONS – UN Humanitarians said Monday that 35 civilians have been killed in Ituri province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, noting that the deadly situation limits aid delivery.

The 35 slain in Djugu and Irumu territories last week include one displaced person and 19 people who recently returned to their homes, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The 35 slain in Djugu and Irumu territories last week include one displaced person and 19 people who recently returned to their homes, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said

"Insecurity has forced nine humanitarian organizations, one UN agency and eight international non-governmental organizations, to temporarily suspend their road movements in Irumu and Mambasa territories, delaying the provision of assistance to thousands of people," it said. "The humanitarian situation in Ituri has been deteriorating since October last year, when attacks on civilians increased, including on sites for displaced people."

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Such attacks triggered significant population movements, OCHA said. There are now more than 1.9 million displaced people in Ituri.

The continuing violence has also affected food production in Ituri, leaving thousands of families with not enough food to eat, the humanitarians said. Food insecurity affects nearly 3 million people, particularly in Djugu territory, where one in five people faces emergency hunger levels.

Between March 2020 and March 2022, about 211 schools were destroyed or damaged, leaving over 55,000 children out of school across the province, OCHA said.

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The office said the United Nations and its partners continue to assist civilians, despite the volatile situation. Eight shelter, health, food security, nutrition, and protection projects operate in Komanda and Mambasa territories.