Dozens of displaced families from Rutshuru in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s restive North-Kivu are surviving without any assistance from the authorities or international aid, according to reports.
Eastern regions of the DRC are still at the mercy of armed groups, including NDC/Rénové, Nyatura, FDLR, ADF rebels or Maï-Maï fighters and the Congolese armed forces (FARDC), who have all been accused of committing serious abuses against civilians.
The internally displaced persons (IDPs) come from the village of Katwe, in the Bwito area of the Rutshuru territory, north of provincial capital Goma – according to the United Nations-funded Radio Okapi.
Estimated at 70 households, the IDPs have been living for more than three months without assistance under a hangar at the end of the Mugunga III camp, some 15km (9.3mi) from Goma, after fleeing slayings in their village.
According to one of the IDPs, quoted by Radio Okapi, some of the women are still without news from their husbands, who ran away in a different direction.
"We learn that other people in our village will also arrive in this camp [Mugunga III], because [they] continue to kill people," the displaced woman, said.
Because they claim to receive no assistance, the IDPs said they are forced to work for the local people to survive, but receive little money for their work. "We suffer greatly, we have neither food nor medicine. We have children who have come without their parents. At night, we are forced to confine ourselves so that everyone can find a place. Many have gone to look for food," the woman said.
Humanitarians contacted by the UN radio said they could not confirm the number of IDPs coming from Katwe, and said that it is difficult for them to offer assistance until their exact number is known.
Contacted by IBTimes UK, the UN refugee agency in the DRC confirmed there were currently 3.738 IDPs living in Mugunga III. "We have no more details, except that these internally displaced come from the village of Katwe," said Simon Lubuku Mapendo, a senior spokesman for the UNHCR's Regional Representation in Kinshasa.