DRC: LRA and other attacks displace more than 1,200 people in DRC
In March, attacks by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) displaced more than 1,200 people in the Dungu area, Orientale Province, while UNHCR reported 33 attacks in north-eastern DRC this year. In addition the LRA has repeatedly attacked communities in the Central African Republic in 2012, following a in lull the second half of 2011.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people recently fled their homes in North Kivu Province, following attacks by armed groups and ensuing military operations by the national army. At the end of March, a large proportion of the population in the outskirts of Beni, North Kivu, fled their homes following the killing, raping and lootingof villagers by armed men. There were an estimated 500,000 IDPs in North Kivu as of January 2012, out of a total of some 1.71 million IDPs in DRC.
See also: IDMC DRC country page
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Mali: As rebels seize control of Northern Mali, IDPs face grave risks
Between March 30th and April 1st, Tuareg fighters of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) seized the capitals of Azawad, Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu. Rebel forces were reportedly moving further south towards Mopti, where hundreds of people were seen fleeing the town. There is also increasing concern for some 95,000 IDPs currently dispersed in northern Mali. Of these, it is estimated that 38 percent are sheltering in Timbuktu, 32 per cent in Gao and 30 per cent in Kidal. In addition, Tuareg IDPs who fled to southern parts of the country are at risk of suffering reprisal attacks by those hostile to the rebellion.
This conflict follows the overthrow of President Amadou Toumani Touré on 21 March by Malian soldiers who accused him of limiting their means of addressing the Tuareg rebellion in the north. Since then, Mali has been increasingly isolated; it has been suspended from ECOWAS and the African Union, and several governments have suspended financial aid.
Humanitarian organizations are increasingly worried that both of these recent events will further complicate access to IDPs, and gravely worsen their situation in a region already suffering severe shortages of food, water and medical assistance.
See also: IDMC’s new Mali country page
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Colombia: New report highlights dire situation for displaced afro-Colombians
A report released on 29 March by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) highlighted grave concerns for afro-Colombian IDPs in the department of Chocó, Colombia. WOLA reports that afro-Colombian communities have fled, been trapped or confined by threats and violence by the country's armed groups. Once displaced, they face assassination or forced recruitment by paramilitary groups, as well as discrimination while accessing government support such as housing and income generation .
This report is particularly concerning as Chocó has a predominantly afro-Colombian population. According to the latest census, 82% of the population in Chocó is afro-Colombian. According to UN OCHA in January and February of 2012, 20 mass displacements took place in Chocó, Cauca, and Nariño, most of which affected afro-Colombian or indigenous communities. This suggests that afro-Colombians and other minorities are being particularly targeted by armed groups in these areas.
See also: IDMC Colombia country page