People’s Displacement in Kasai Region of Congo

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has alerted the humanitarian community about the violence and continued displacement of civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from the Kasai region where the estimated number of displaced people now exceeds 1.3 million.

The Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is divided administratively into Kasai-Occidental and Kasai-Oriental. It shares its name with the Kasai River.

After the independence of Congo, it seceded for a while under influence of Belgium and became an independent kingdom. After the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Kasai came back to Congo.

The conflict in the Kasai region, which started in late 2016 between a local traditional leader – the Kamuina Nsapu – and state authorities, continues to expand, with other armed groups springing up and committing severe human rights abuses against civilians.

During recent missions to two provinces bordering the main conflict region, Kwilu and Lualaba, UNHCR’s team met some extremely vulnerable new arrivals.

The majority of those displaced are being accommodated by host communities, despite limited resources.

UNHCR is strengthening its response on the ground, closely working with national partner organizations to distribute more than 267,000 hot meals daily in five provinces affected by the displacement, namely Kasai, Kasai Central, Kwango, Kwilu and Lualaba.