Thousands flee violence in DRC – UNHCR
The United Nations on Tuesday said thousands of people have fled violence in Democratic Republic of Congo in the past month and are now seeking refuge in Zambia.
According to the UN refugee agency some 3,360 people from southeast DRC have entered Zambia since August 30, an inflow that the agency considers the largest influx of refugees in the past five years.
UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said in Geneva that thousands “are escaping inter-ethnic clashes, as well as fighting between Congolese security forces and militia groups,”
The UNHCR said most of those arriving in Zambia are children, many of whom are sick from various diseases.
“The lack of roads and the long distances … make it difficult to monitor the situation and provide them with assistance,” Mahecic said.
According to the UN those escaping from DRC cite “extreme brutality, with civilians being killed, women raped, property looted and houses set alight,” for fleeing.
DRC is reeling under conflict which heightened after the current President, Joseph Kabila refused to step down and hold fresh elections.
Last week a rebel spokesman in eastern Congo said that his movement intended to march across the country to the capital Kinshasa to depose President Joseph Kabila.
Millions have died from regional wars in eastern Congo, an area that holds vast reserves of gold, tin, coltan and other minerals.