16 November 2012

East Africa: DR Congo Stray Bullets Injure Rwandans

Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have seized a military airport in Goma, the main city in the country's mineral-rich east, after several ... ( Resource: DR Congo Rebels Seize Goma Military Airport

Kibonke Bacuruwiha, one of the victims who were accidentally shot by stray bullets on Rwandan territory as a result of the renewed fighting on the Congolese side of the border, has got a bullet stuck in his thorax, doctors at Gisenyi Hospital said yesterday.

The fighting took place on Thursday in North Kivu, between the Congolese forces (FARDC) and the rebel group M23.

During the fighting, three Rwandans identified as Julien Uwamariya, Vedaste Twagirayezu and Bacuruwiha were injured and evacuated to Gisenyi Hospital for medical treatment.

Uwamariya and Twagirayezu sustained minor injuries.

"Bacuruwiha is conscious but it is necessary for him to undergo an operation so as to remove the bullet," a doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

By press time yesterday, plans were underway to transfer Bacuruwiha to Kigali for further medical consultations.

Rwanda on Thursday urged the Congolese army and the rebel force M23 to cease renewed hostility and respect the peace resolutions tabled by the region through the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and government spokesperson, Louise Mushikiwabo, expressed concern that the breakout in fighting will undermine the ongoing ICGLR peace process.

Residents and local leaders in Bugeshi Sector, where the stray bullets landed told this paper yesterday that they were on the alert to prevent any more injuries.

Meanwhile, there is a renewed influx of Congolese refugees crossing to Rwanda as a result of the renewed fighting.

They entered through various entry points other than the Kabuhanga border in Bugeshi sector.

Frederic Ntawukuriryayo, the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, estimated the figures at more than 2,000.

He added that the ministry's Permanent Secretary, Antoine Ruvebana, was set to visit the border district last evening so as to find ways of relocating the refugees to Nkamira Transit Centre for them to receive emergency relief.

Despite a three-month ceasefire in place, violence broke out Thursday morning in the volatile eastern DRC, where media reported dozens to have been killed in the latest fighting

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