Kinshasa — SOME 5 000 civilians are seeking refuge in Burundi after fleeing intense fighting between the army and rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Escalating skirmishes have uprooted the refugees from their homes in the South Kivu Province, east of the country.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs confirmed the mass displacements to the neighbouring country, which is suffering its own political problems.
"Other population movements are reported but the precarious security situation does not allow for the time being to give a precise figure regarding the number of displaced persons," said a spokesperson.
Fighting is most severe in the Fizi territory of South Kivu where a sharp deterioration of the humanitarian situation has been observed during the past week.
The population of 11 health zones in the territory, some 100 000 people, is affected.
Attack of their convoy by elements of an armed group earlier this week killed a UN peacekeeper.
Meanwhile, repeated fighting between the regular army and armed groups has led to the closure of some five schools in the Kabambare territory, which borders Fizi and the Maniema Province.
More than 1 300 students can no longer go to school.
In the same area, armed groups have burnt some 20 houses forcing families who had just returned from their homes after fleeing last week's clashes to move again.
Local authorities also report a displacement of around 10 000 people. - CAJ News