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UN: Latest DRC Violence Has Displaced More Than 72,000 People

Fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo over the past week between the army and M23 rebels has forced more than 72,000 people from their homes, the United Nations has said.

The M23, a rebel group claiming to represent the interests of ethnic Tutsis in eastern DRC, is staging its largest offensive since a 2012-2013 insurrection that captured vast swaths of the countryside.

There has been heavy fighting as near as 20 kilometres (12 miles) to Goma, the major city in the region. In recent months, the rebels have attacked army bases in the area.

Of the 72,000 people who have fled, about 7,000 have reportedly crossed into neighbouring Uganda, the UN Refugee Agency said in a statement on Friday.

Others have headed to Goma or taken shelter in sites built to house people fleeing a volcanic eruption last year.

The region has experienced near-constant conflict since 1996 when Rwanda and other neighbouring states invaded in pursuit of Hutu fighters who had participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Currently, the DRC has 5.6 million internally displaced people, the most in Africa, according to UN figures. There are at least 1.9 million in North Kivu, the province where the current fighting is taking place.

Source: Aljazeera

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