Congo Clashes Cause New Inflows of Refugees into Rwanda and Uganda

With fighting resumed in eastern DRC in recent weeks between Government forces, dissident groups and militia, new inflows of refugees enter Rwanda and Uganda.

Reports say 30,000 refugees have arrived in Uganda this month. In addition, Uganda was already host to 175,127 refugees, including 97,424 from DRC.

The top United Nations refugee official today voiced alarm at new inflows of refugees into Rwanda and Uganda who are fleeing fighting in eastern Congo.

A resident of the Kibati camp of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) collects food ration distributed by the World Food Programme in collaboration with the nongovernmental organization, CARITAS. UN Photo/Marie Frechon

According to UNHCR, more than 8,200 refugees have crossed from DRC into Rwanda since 27 April. These are in addition to the 55,000 Congolese refugees that Rwanda is already hosting.

“The displacement level we see in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is already disastrous.” – High Commissioner Antonio Guterres

He reports that conflict coupled with very limited access for humanitarian workers means that many thousands of people are without protection and help.

“And now people in need are appearing in neighbouring countries too.” – Mr. Guterres

Reports also states that the recent Congo has caused suffering for civilians who are experiencing displacement, human rights violations, and loss of property.

UNHCR notes that the situation has worsened in recent months amid recent fighting between DRC forces and soldiers loyal to former rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda.

Mr. Ntaganda has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes committed against civilians in eastern DRC.

On January this year, a fresh violence erupted in eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), displacing more than 100,000 civilians the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu.

The clashes are reported to have begun in November last year.

There were an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of July 2011, the vast majority of them in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. This included over 128,000 people newly displaced in the first quarter of 2011.

A peace agreement in 2003 formally brought years of war to a close, but fighting flared again in North Kivu that same year. An estimated 1.3 million IDPs remain in the DRC, while 350,000 Congolese have fled to other countries.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.