Hundreds of fleeing Congolese cross into Uganda: UN

A Congolese refugee cares for his daughter as she sleeps on the street in Kampala, Uganda

KAMPALA (AFP) — Around 1,700 people fleeing violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have sought refuge in neighbouring Uganda, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Friday.

"Most people are spending the day at their homes in the DRC and then crossing into Uganda to sleep at night," Kampala-based UNHCR spokeswoman Roberta Russo told AFP.

She said refugees are mainly staying with friends and family on the Ugandan side, and that the situation does not yet warrant a UN intervention. But she added: "We are ready and we have everything in place."

Bahane Niyibizi, a Ugandan member of parliament for Kisoro, which borders the region most affected by the unrest in DR Congo, said, "the situation is exerting a lot of pressure on the community and on local resources."

He complained of medical and food shortages for the influx.

Eastern DR Congo has become increasingly unstable in recent weeks following an escalation of clashes between government forces and renegade general Laurent Nkunda.

Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
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