Officials on Monday reported that more than 90 Congolese refugees fleeing fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) arrived in neighboring Rwanda.
Kambogo Ildephonse, the mayor of Rubavu District, in western Rwanda told Xinhua.
“On Sunday afternoon, we received 89 Congolese citizens from 33 families, among them more than 50 children. They reported that they were fleeing clashes between government troops and M23 rebels.
“The refugees are temporarily sheltered by Rwandan families, but there is a contingent plan to support them as we monitor the situation.’’
The refugees entered Rwanda through the Kabuhanga border post in Rubavu District, reportedly fleeing weekend clashes in Ruhunda and Buhumba localities in eastern DRC.
According to the United Nations, Renewed fighting between Congolese troops and the M23 rebels has led to a complex and deteriorating humanitarian situation.
Stephanie Tremblay, an associate spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said more than 188,000 people had been displaced, bringing the total number of civilians displaced since fighting broke out in March to more than 230,000.
Besides internal displacements, other refugees have fled to neighboring Uganda.
The DRC has accused Rwanda of backing M23 fighters, a charge Rwanda dismissed as a “scapegoating’’.
Rwanda has also accused the Congolese armed forces of colluding with the Rwandan rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda based in DRC.
The simmering tensions hit a new low in October after the Congolese government expelled the Rwandan ambassador to the country over the M23 rebels.
Angolan President Joao Lourenco on Friday met with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame in the Rwandan capital of Kigali in an effort to defuse the tensions.
Lourenco, who also chairs the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, on Saturday held talks with DRC President Felix Tshisekedi. (Xinhua/NAN)