3,000 Congolese flee to Burundi
London, Jan. 26. 2018 (AltAfrika)-About 3,000 asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) have arrived Burundi to avoid fighting in eastern DR Congo, local authorities told Xinhua on Thursday.
According to governors of Makamba and Rumonge provinces in southwestern Burundi, those asylum seekers arrived via Lake Tanganyika by boats.
“Since yesterday (Wednesday), we are receiving an influx of refugees from eastern DR Congo. By now, we have received over 3,000 refugees. And more and more are coming,” said Juvenal Bigirimana, governor of Rumonge province.
Bigirimana said those asylum seekers are mainly Congolese nationals and Burundian nationals, who fled fighting between Mai-Mai rebels and the Congolese army in DR Congo’s South Kivu province.
Bigirimana also said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the National Office in charge of the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (ONPRA) and the Rumonge administration are seeking ways to relocate those asylum seekers in refugee camps.
“We (The Rumonge administration) are trying our best to get food items for them as no charitable organization has so far assisted them,” Bigirimana said.
Makamba Governor Gad Niyukuri said that over 1,000 asylum seekers from DR Congo have arrived in the Nyanza-Lac district since Wednesday.
“Those refugees say they left so many others behind, and those are also fleeing the fighting. We have put them in one place,” said Niyukuri.
Niyukuri also said the provincial government feared some of the people might have brought cholera here as one of them has already shown cholera symptoms.
Burundi has set four refugee camps to host DR Congo nationals.
According to the UN News Service, the inter-ethnic violence and clashes between the regular army, militia and armed groups have left some 1.3 million people displaced in eastern DR Congo’s provinces of Tanganyika and South Kivu.