22 January 2013

Zambia: Two Hundred DRC Refugees Enter Mwense

MORE than 200 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have entered Zambia, this time through Mwense District in Luapula Province.

They are fleeing from that country's soldiers.

The refugees, who entered Zambia through Katabulwe harbour on Luapula River from Kasenga District of DRC on Saturday morning, have been temporarily camped at Mukuntampashi Basic School in Chief Lukwesa's area in Mwense.

Mwense District Commissioner Victor Kasuba said in an interview that 201 refuges had entered Mwense District.

Mr Kasuba said his office had decided to temporarily accommodate them at a school since they arrived in the country on Saturday, which was not a school day.

He said among the 201 were two-day-old babies, making the situation for the mothers difficult.

The district commissioner said the refugees were divided into two groups, one for women and the other for men to make it easier to allocate them classrooms where to lodge.

He said he had reported the matter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Lusaka.

Mr Kasuba said health staff from Mwense District Health Management Team were already screening the refugees as the district was not completely cholera-free.

"The refugees are not running away from the rebels. According to them, they are running away from Government soldiers of their country because they are allegedly being accused of harbouring the rebels," he said.

Recently, about 1,000 refugees entered Zambia through Kilwa Island in Nchelenge and Chiengi districts.

Some of them had since been repatriated to Maheba Refugee Camp in Solwezi while others decided to go back to their country.

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