New attacks by armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have forced 46,000 people to flee their homes, the United Nations human rights agency reported today, with about 10,000 of them taking refuge in neighboring Uganda. .
In a video conference from Kampala, the Ugandan capital, UNHCR representative in Uganda, Joel Potro, explained to journalists accredited to the United Nations in Geneva that the remaining 36,000 have relocated to other areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The refugees in Uganda come from the area around Rutshuru town, in North Kivu province, about 8 kilometers from the border, and began arriving with the outbreak of hostilities on Monday, March 28, said the official from UNHCR.
The refugees – including six who sustained gunshot wounds – have been treated and sheltered in family homes, markets and schools, and are receiving assistance from UNHCR and WFP teams.
Although the Bunagana border crossing, where most of the refugees entered, is closed by order of the Ugandan authorities, it does allow asylum seekers to enter, while some have entered Uganda via irregular steps.
Among the refugees are many unaccompanied minors, the elderly and the disabled, Potro said.
Eastern DRC has been mired in a conflict fueled by rebel militias and army attacks for more than two decades, with more than 5.6 million people internally displaced and frequent refugee flows into neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.
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