No fewer than 23,000 people have fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since renewed fighting between government troops and rebel militia in the northeast of the country, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
Around 2,500 people arrived in Uganda from the DRC since the latest outbreak of violence on Thursday between M23 rebel forces and the Congolese army in Rutshuru near the border with Uganda and Rwanda, tweeted UNOCHA in DR Congo.
“Since March, the clashes have displaced at least 186,000 people, bringing the total number of displaced people in Rutshuru territory to over 396,000,” the office tweeted.
The M23 movement, which was defeated in 2013 by the Congolese army, consists of former soldiers of the Congolese army who split off in 2012 and formed a rebel group.
Since the end of March, however, the rebel group has resumed attacking civilians and military installations in eastern DRC as well as fighting with the Congolese army.
The Rutshuru region in North Kivu province is rich in mineral resources. According to the United States, around 130 armed rebel groups vying for control of DRC’s vast natural wealth, which includes copper, cobalt, gold, and diamonds.