Côte d’Ivoire: IDPs face eviction from camps
According to the camp coordination and camp management cluster in Côte d’Ivoire, IDPs currently living in 12 IDP sites are at risk of eviction. At the beginning of October, some 24,000 IDPs were still in some 35 sites across the country, mainly in Abidjan and the west, due to the lack alternative housing and their fear of inter-ethnic reprisals. They have been under increasing pressure to leave as private owners try to reclaim their property. IDPs who have already been evicted from privately-owned sites have sought refuge with hosts.
Heightened inter-community tensions and land disputes have limited the viability of returns and have also caused further displacements. 22 per cent of displaced people interviewed for a study by CARE, OXFAM and the Danish Refugee Council expressed an intention not to return to their place of origin, because their home had been destroyed, it was still not safe, they had endured trauma there or could not reclaim their land. They had, however, little or no idea of alternatives available to them.
See also: IDMC Côte d’Ivoire country page
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Central Africa: American military advisors to help against the LRA
The American government will send 100 troops to Central Africa to support efforts to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The rebel group originated in Uganda and has been active in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and South Sudan. It has raped and killed thousands of civilians, abducted children for use as child soldiers, and caused the displacement of almost 400,000 people (see LRA Tracker for the latest information on LRA attacks).
US troops will be not engage in direct combat; their main task will be to advise the armed forces of the affected countries on how to kill or capture the LRA leadership. The top commanders of the LRA, including Joseph Kony, have been sought since 2005 by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in northern Uganda.
The decision to send troops follows the signing in May 2010 of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which requires the USA to develop a strategy to protect civilians from LRA attacks, take steps to end the rebels’ violence, and increase humanitarian assistance to affected countries. The African Union (AU) has also taken steps to combat the LRA. In June 2011, defense ministers of CAR, DRC, South Sudan, and Uganda agreed to deploy a joint military force to end LRA atrocities, to be managed by the AU. The four countries will contribute troops.
See also: IDMC country pages on CAR, DRC, South Sudan, and Uganda
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Central African Republic: Ceasefire follows fighting over diamonds and displacement
On 9 October, the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) and the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) signed a ceasefire agreement, ending weeks of violence in the diamond mining town of Bria in the Central African Republic (CAR). According to a report published last year by the International Crisis Group, the diamond trade is fuelling the armed conflict between rival ethnic groups – the CPJP is dominated by the Goula and the UFDR by the Rounga. In September, the latest clashes between the two rebel groups led to the displacement of 15,000 people.
After withdrawing from Bria, both groups have asked the international community for humanitarian aid for displaced civilians. While the UFDR signed a comprehensive peace agreement with the government of CAR in 2008, the CPJP only agreed to a ceasefire in June 2011 and has yet to sign the comprehensive peace agreement. The government has also asked the international community for urgent action to help consolidate peace and prevent fighting following the withdrawal of a UN peacekeeping mission (MINURCAT) in December 2010.
See also: IDMC CAR country page
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Philippines: Up to 3,500 people flee fighting between MILF and government forces in Basilan
Between 1,500 and 3,500 people have reportedly fled their homes in south-western Mindanao as a result of intense fighting between rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine armed forces near the town of Al-Barka, on the island province of Basilan. The displaced people, most of whom fled as a result of shelling by the military near their villages, reportedly sought refuge in nearby towns. No information was given on the conditions they faced or their needs, but the mayor of Al-Barka did appeal for assistance. 19 soldiers and six rebels were reported killed in the 18 October clash.
According to the MILF, who accused the military of violating the truce between the parties, their attack followed an army assault on a MILF camp. The army stated that the soldiers were chasing a kidnapping gang when they were attacked by the MILF. The government described the incident as a “misencounter” which would not affect the upcoming peace talks.
See also: IDMC Philippines country page