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Close to Million Displaced in DRC - UN

A volunteer brings daily food rations for internally displaced persons (IDPs), at a camp for IDPs fleeing the conflict in the DRC's Kasai province, June 7, 2017, in Kikwit, DRC.

Nearly 900,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been displaced since the start of the year, the UN's humanitarian agency said Wednesday, amid rebel fighting in the country's east.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that more than 877,000 people had been displaced between January and June In a report published late Wednesday.

Over 446,000 people had also returned home during that period, OCHA said.

There are currently 4.86 million people displaced within the DRC, according to OCHA, with women representing 51 percent of that number.

"More than 80 per cent of the displacement is due to armed attacks and clashes," the report said.

The majority of displaced people are located in Congo's turbulent east, a mineral-rich region plagued by over 120 armed groups.

Late last year, the M23 rebel group resumed fighting in eastern Congo after lying mostly dormant for years. It has since captured swathes of territory, including the strategic border town of Bunagana.

The clashes have destabilized regional relations in central Africa, with DRC accusing its smaller neighbor Rwanda of backing the militia.

Despite denials from the Rwandan government, an unpublished report for the United Nations seen by AFP also pointed to Rwandan involvement.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who went to Rwanda on Wednesday, is discussing the M23 issue and Rwenda-DRC friction with President Paul Kagame and his Foreign Affairs Ministry counterpart