13,000 Congolese flee to Uganda
What you need to know:
- The Bunagana Central Cell chairperson, Mr Abubaker Nikyenje, appealed to the government to consider constructing public toilets and temporary shelters to accommodate the refugees.
About 13,000 Congolese nationals on Monday fled into Uganda through Bunagana Border Post in Kisoro District following heavy fighting between government forces and suspected M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).
The Kisoro Resident District Commissioner, Mr Peter Mugisha, said the fighting started at around 3am yesterday in the villages of Chanzu, Runyonyi, and Bigyera in Rutshuru District, North Kivu province in DR Congo.
“About 8,000 Congolese refugees are camped at Bunagana border while about 5,000 others are camped at Kibaya area in Kisoro District. We are liaising with the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) officials and the Office of the Prime Minister to have these refugees relocated to Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro District where they can have access to clean water and sanitary facilities before being transported to the gazetted refugee camps,” Mr Mugisha said on Monday as he addressed the media at Bunagana Border Post.
Mr Mugisha said they have deployed Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers at the border to ensure security of Ugandans.
He added that police and health officials have also been deployed to welcome the refugees at Bunagana market where they are camped.
Some of the refugees said they are tired of the insecurity in North Kivu province which has lasted for decades.
“We are living under fear of being attacked any time by the rebels that operate in the North Kivu province. We appeal to the Congolese Government to work with its neighbouring and flush out these rebels that are terrorising our communities,” Mr Amos Mbusayi, one of the refugees at Bunagana, said.
The Bunagana Central Cell chairperson, Mr Abubaker Nikyenje, appealed to the government to consider constructing public toilets and temporary shelters to accommodate the refugees.
“We have been spending a lot of money to clean Bunagana town every time there is such an influx of refugees because of poor human waste disposal,” Mr Nikyenje said.
In November last year, hundreds of Congolese nationals fled into Uganda after resumption of fighting in the North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, the Congolese army quickly restored peace and the fleeing refugees returned to their homes in three days.
At the time, the fighting was centred in the areas of Chanzu, Kiisiza, Ruyoni and Mbuzi in the North Kivu Province.