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UN: more DRC refugees migrating to Angola to escape violence

[JURIST] Spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) [official website], Babar Baloch, said in a press release [text] on Friday that over 11,000 refugees from the Kasai province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have recently escaped to Angola due to violence in their province. Refugees say that they are targeted by militia groups who believe the refugees are supporting the government. Violence in the province between government and militia groups began almost one year ago. Many of the refugees arriving in Dundo, Angola are ill from conditions relating to malnutrition. Baloch says the UNHCR is working with the DRC's government as well as shipping mosquito netting and other supplies to Dundo. "The new arrivals are terrified and still fear for their lives and mentioned they do not have any immediate plans to return home," said Baloch.

The DRC has seen ongoing violence for the past several decades, which has led to growing international concern. Earlier this month the ICC said [JURIST report] violence in the DRC could constitute war crimes. In March seven army officials were arrested and charged [JURIST report] with war crimes. In February Human Rights Watch called on [JURIST report] the DRC to investigate the killing of alleged militia which was recorded in a released video. Earlier in February the UN human rights chief urged [JURIST report] the DRC to end violence against civilians. Also in February the UN human rights office expressed concern [JURIST report] over reports that at least 101 people were killed by Congolese soldiers. Last October violent protests erupted [JURIST report] after the electoral commission announced that the next presidential election, originally scheduled for November 2016, would be pushed back to 2018. In the beginning of 2016 [JURIST report] former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urged African leaders to avoid using loopholes and undemocratic constitutional changes to "cling to power."

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