Congo refugees flee fighting

As many as 10,000 Congolese refugees have crossed into western Uganda in less than 24 hours, fleeing fighting in Congo’s east, officials said today.

As many as 10,000 Congolese refugees have crossed into western Uganda in less than 24 hours, fleeing fighting in Congo’s east, officials said today.

The refugees said they are fleeing renewed violence between the Congolese army and forces loyal to former army Gen. Laurent Nkunda in the troubled east Congo region, government and UN officials said.

“The influx began late last evening in very large numbers,” said David Masereka, the district commissioner of Kisoro, which borders Congo. “We estimate that there are approximately 10,000 (refugees). The situation in east Congo is unpredictable, fragile and volatile. Refugee movements have become almost a daily routine here.”

Masereka said the refugees had gathered in school and church buildings.

A UN refugee agency statement yesterday said that many of the refugees were already heading back to their homes in Congo, but those who wanted to stay could relocate to a centre 12 miles from the border where emergency supplies and shelter are available.

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