Violence between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups (primarily herders and farmers, respectively) has displaced some 46,000 children in northeastern DRC as of Friday, February 16. Moreover, according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), 76 people have been killed in related ethnic violence in Ituri province since December 2017; some 70 villages have also been burned down in the conflict. Over 100 schools have canceled classes amid the violence, affecting 30,000 children. Further instances of ethnic violence and consequent forced displacement are expected in the region in the coming weeks.
Congolese refugees are fleeing ethnic clashes between Hema herders and Lendu farmers in Ituri province. According to a local humanitarian source, approximately 200,000 people have been displaced since mid-December. As of February 14, over 22,000 Congolese nationals had fled across Lake Albert to neighboring Uganda since February 5. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a total of 34,000 refugees have been registered in Uganda since the beginning of the year.
The government's limited role in the eastern provinces, as well as the presence of numerous armed groups and local self-defense militias (Maï-Maï militias), have led to continued insecurity in the area.
Individuals in Ituri province and elsewhere in northeastern DRC are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all gatherings due to the potential for violence, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
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