Thousands of Congolese flee to Uganda to escape final push on M23

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Recent fighting in eastern Congo has seen thousands of civilians flee to neighboring Uganda.

Over 10,000 people have fled parts of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo into Uganda following days of fighting between government forces and members of the M23 rebel group, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

The displaced are fleeing into southwest Uganda's Kisoro district.

UNHCR staff in the border area say bombs were falling very close to the border point, causing panic among the fleeing IDPs and also among Ugandans living along the border.

More than half of the IDPs who have arrived at the Nyakabande Transit Centre are young children who have been separated from their families while fleeing to the border areas.

Adrian Edwards is the UNHCR spokesperson in Geneva.

“Many refugees are also making their own way on foot to the transit centre. Its cold rainy conditions are not good. We currently have enough emergency relief supplies for a population of 10,000. In addition to several hundred family tents, there are 11 communal shelters which each hold about 300 people. Another is being constructed.  The majority of the new arrivals are young children, and many have been separated from their families while running from the border. So far, we have received more than 100 children on their own and we are housing them in separate tents, providing extra items and assisting them in getting food and linking them back with their families.”

UNHCR says the situation in eastern DRC remains tense and volatile with the newly displaced unwilling to return home.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 1’34″

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