KINSHASA - Internally displaced people account for at least 12 of those killed and a further 31 injured when their camps were shelled by M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUSCO, on Friday.

The camps were in the neighbourhoods of Lac Vert and Mugunga, near Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu, which has seen a sharp uptick in violence over the past few months.

UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told journalists at UN Headquarters in New York that the situation around Goma continues to remain very tense, with at least 11 incidents involving explosives reported since February.

Bintou Keita, Special Representative of the Secretary General for DRC and the head of MONUSCO, condemned the violence against civilians and called on all parties to the conflict to adhere to international humanitarian law and protect civilians, Mr. Haq added.

The escalating violence in North Kivu in the country’s east has triggered a massive exodus to Goma, which now hosts over 500,000 people who have been displaced.

“Despite the volatile situation and insecurity, we and our partners continue to provide assistance,” Mr. Haq said, also noting the need for additional funding to reach those in need with aid.

He said the 2024 Humanitarian Response Plan seeking $2.6 billion is only 17 per cent funded at $430 million. Fully funded, the plan aims to provide 8.7 million people with humanitarian assistance and protection.