Insecurity plagues DRC refugees

People displaced by fighting still fear government and opposition attacks.

    For the Democratic Republic of Congo, still gripped by war, there is little hope for much change in the coming year.

    The world's largest UN peacekeeping force of about 20,000 troops - called Monuc - is in the country but it appears largely ineffective in the restive eastern North Kivu region.

    There, alongside the Congolese military, they have been fighting Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

    Seeking safety

    Some say Monuc has even made life worse for the people, who have suffered attacks by both opposition and government forces.

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    Human rights groups have said that the military and the FDLR have committed rape, murder and forced displacement against citizens.

    In Kiwanja town at least 150 people were killed by rebels loyal to a renegade general just over a year ago.

    People there still live amid daily insecurity, in a country that has one of the highest rates of rape in the world.

    "We still sleep with our clothes on. We always fear attacks. A new addition to the problems we have is the rebels these days kidnap people for ransom," one resident said.

    Such fears have caused some people from Kiwanja to seek refuge in displacement camps.

    Patrica Baseme left Kiwanja after the massacre and has tried to return twice. However, both times she has continued to feel unsafe and gone back to the camp.

    "The rebels attack us and when the government troops arrive they do the same, she said.

    "They beat, kill, and rape. We have no peace in our homes. That is why we chose to remain here because at least we can catch some sleep here."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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