Rabavu — Refugees fleeing from the fighting between government forces and rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have blamed their government for years of violence and insecurity in the region.
About 3000 refugees, mostly women and children, from DRC's Masisi area of the North Kivu province, are now sheltered at the Nkamira Transit Centre, where they are receiving relief supplies.
Fierce clashes have erupted in the areas of Mushaki, Ngungu, Ngicanga in Masisi.
"We are fleeing from bullets and bombs, the government has failed to contain the situation, it is now a war zone; we have not known peace for many years now, even the UN peacekeepers (MONUSCO) have not been helpful," Devotha Uwimana said, upon arrival at La Corniche border post in Rubavu.
"We don't understand the cause of this war; the government has failed us. We have endured despicable atrocities by various militias over the years," said Sisiro Bernard, a refugee from Masisi.
Several human rights groups have called on the warring factions to take measures to ensure civilians are protected.
"The escalating violence in the DRC is deeply alarming and all parties to the conflict must ensure that civilians are not caught in the crossfire," said Paule Rigaud, Amnesty International Deputy Programme Director for Africa.
"All sides should abide by international humanitarian law, in particular the prohibitions of indiscriminate attacks."
The latest skirmishes are reportedly mainly between the government troops and renegade soldiers.
The region is also home to several militia groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), whose members are blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda; as well as rebel groups fighting the governments of Uganda and Burundi.
In 2010, the UN said more than 300 civilians were raped by militants in 13 villages in a period of one month.
The Permanent Secretary in the Rwanda's Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Affairs, Anthony Ruvebana, said the ministry in partnership with UN agencies were providing food supplies, blankets and hygiene materials to the arriving refugees.
The international Red Cross, on Wednesday, provided 800 blankets, two tonnes of sosoma flour, plastic mats, kitchen kits, jerry cans, all worth Rwf23million.