20 December 2012

Rwanda: Congolese Refugees Continue to Flee to Rwanda

Photo: Kate Holt/IRIN
Displaced people.

Congolese refugees have continued to cross to Rwanda fleeing alleged persecution by armed groups in the eastern part of the country, the Ministry of Disaster and Refugee affairs has said.

By Tuesday evening, at least 300 refugees had been registered since last week according to officials.

The official said the refugees were fleeing violence targeting Kinyarwanda speaking Congolese. The refugees are entering through La Corniche border post in Gisenyi Sector, Rubavu District in Western Province.

"Today (Tuesday) we received 100 Congolese nationals from Masisi. When we talked to them they reported that different armed groups like Mai Mai, Nyatura were attacking Congolese of Rwandan descent," Fredrick Ntawukuriryayo, the ministry's communications officer told The New Times.

He said that the refugees were being sheltered at Nkamira transit centre in Western Province but more were expected to come.

The refugees are being provided with food and shelter by Rwandan government in collaboration with United Nations High Commission for Refugees, among other agencies.

Rwanda hosts over 50,000 Congolese refugees mostly those who fled fighting in eastern DRC. They are in various camps, including Gihembe in Gicumbi district, Kiziba in Karongi district, Nyabiheke in Gatsibo and Kigeme in Nyamagabe district.

Others are in Kigali City and Nkamira Transit Centre in the Western Province.

Recent statistics released by the government and UN agencies indicate that 99 per cent of all refugees in Rwanda were from Democratic Republic of Congo.

This influx comes as talks between the DRC government and the M23 rebels aimed at ending fighting in the eastern part of the vast central African country have been extended until December 31.

The negotiations, are going on since December 9 in Kampala.

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