UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — UN humanitarians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are pressing for the protection of civilians after armed groups killed at least 100 civilians in Ituri province, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

“Our humanitarian colleagues are very concerned about the continuing deterioration of the security situation affecting civilians in the eastern province of Ituri,” said Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is intensifying its advocacy efforts with the authorities to ensure that the protection of civilians remains a priority, Dujarric told reporters at a regular briefing. Dujarric said the United Nations’ humanitarian partners reported that since early last month, armed groups have killed at least 100 civilians, kidnapped more than 93 people, including many children, and caused the displacement of over 96,000 people.

He said that affected people no longer have access to their farms, the primary source of income for most civilians. The most urgent needs of those affected include protection, food, shelter, non-food items and healthcare services. Dujarric said security constraints affect humanitarian operations. This past weekend, two international non-governmental organizations withdrew from Ituri, impacting the delivery of critical assistance to more than 44,000 displaced people.