An escalating confrontation between the armed forces of the Republic of Congo (ROC) and suspected former rebels called the Ninjas has forcibly displaced thousands of people in southeastern Pool province and has disrupted farming in the country’s most fertile region, according to the UNHCR.
“We are afraid some 13,000 displaced people soon may not have enough to eat as a result,” said UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler, adding “Residents of Pool province are also having trouble getting health care and education because so many state-employed medics and teachers have fled the area.”
The government says some people have fled their villages since violence erupted in Brazzaville province last April. People have fled their homes in the neighboring département (province) of Pool (11,307), bordering on Brazzaville, and Bouenza province (1,679).
The government blames the violence on former members of the Ninjas, who signed agreements with the government to stop fighting in 2003, after wars and insurgencies dating back to the 1990s.