Congo-Kinshasa: Congolese Refugees Population Doubles

Photo: CR / John Wessels
Displaced family in Kasaï

Kinshasa — THE number people displaced internally by the conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo has doubled to 3,9 million in the past two years. Some 428 000 of these having been displaced in the past three months alone while over the past year, some 100 000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees. With widespread militia activities as well as unrest and violence fuelled by ethnic and political conflict affecting many areas, the risk of further displacement is high, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned. "The challenges of getting aid to people in need are growing fast," said UNHCR spokesman, Adrian Edwards. In the eastern province of Tanganyika, where some 584 000 people are internally displaced, intercommunal conflict between the Twa and Luba groups has spilled into neighboring Haut-Katanga province. Further north in the east of DRC, violence involving mostly local armed groups is also plaguing North and South Kivu provinces. In North Kivu alone, over one million people are displaced. Some 545 000 people are displaced in the South Kivu. Meanwhile, in the Kasai region in central-southern DRC, 762 000 people are displaced. Over 27 000 have fled to Angola. In total there are some 621 711 refugees from the DRC in more than eleven African countries. Ironically, the number of refugees from neighboring countries seeking refuge inside DRC has grown by a third since early 2016. The population now stands at 526 000 people. "We continue seeing new arrivals from Burundi, Central African Republic and South Sudan," Edwards said.

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