2,750 killed in east DR Congo in 2023, NGOs say

Congolese refugees flee due to fighting

Congolese refugees flee due to fighting between M23 rebels and DRC government forces. There has been a rise in the killing of civilians in eastern DR Congo. 

Photo credit: AFP

More than 2,750 civilians have been killed in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of the year, international aid agencies warned Thursday, calling for urgent humanitarian action.

"In many areas, the presence of active non-state armed groups is aggravating the ongoing cycle of violence, triggering massive population displacements and exacerbating an already fragile humanitarian situation," the Forum of International NGOs in the Democratic Republic of Congo said.

The forum is made up of at least 124 international non-governmental organisations operating in the DRC, the statement said. 

On Monday, the UN's humanitarian coordination office OCHA warned of "rampant violence and rising humanitarian needs" in eastern DRC. 

The United Nations said the crisis was "at its most serious". 

Two days later, Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) called for a "rapid and concrete" increase in humanitarian aid for the east of the DRC, "in the face of a crisis of historic proportions in North Kivu" -- one of the provinces most affected by the violence that has blighted the region for nearly 30 years. 

In its statement, the forum of international NGOs also noted a rapid and alarming deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the east of the country. 

The NGOs also raised the alarm over "the resurgence of deadly conflict violence and the militarisation of the region, which is leading to a worrying worsening of the plight of affected populations".  

In addition to increased aid, they called on the international community to "step up its political and diplomatic commitment to finding a solution and putting an end to this perpetual cycle of violence in the DRC."