Africa

DR Congo fighting 'sees refugee numbers rise'

M23 rebels withdraw from the town of Sake in eastern Congo
Image caption Violence flared again in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo in November

Humanitarian workers have warned of a sharp rise in refugees in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo as a result of recent fighting.

The charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) told the BBC that there were now more than 800,000 displaced people in the province of North Kivu.

That marks a sharp rise from the 500,000 estimated in the province before the latest violence.

Last month it saw fighting between government forces and the M23 rebels.

MSF said the refugees lacked shelter and other essential items, and had in some cases fled from one displacement camp to another over years of fighting.

M23 rebels, made up of deserters from the Congolese army, had threatened to overthrow the government after taking the eastern city of Goma in a rebellion in November.

The region has been plagued by violence for years.

The fighting between the M23 rebel group and government troops has now died down, with both sides in neighbouring Uganda for peace talks.

But correspondents say there is no guarantee that the conflict will finally end, allowing people to return to their homes.