News / Africa

Thousands of Congolese Enter Rwanda to Flee Fighting

A Congolese woman refugee sits with others at the Nkamira transit center for refugees in western Rwanda Saturday, May 5, 2012.A Congolese woman refugee sits with others at the Nkamira transit center for refugees in western Rwanda Saturday, May 5, 2012.
A Congolese woman refugee sits with others at the Nkamira transit center for refugees in western Rwanda Saturday, May 5, 2012.
A Congolese woman refugee sits with others at the Nkamira transit center for refugees in western Rwanda Saturday, May 5, 2012.
More than 6,000 Congolese refugees have crossed into Rwanda in the last 10 days, fleeing fighting between the army and mutineers.

Mukakarimba, a wife and mother of two, walked for more than three days through the volatile North Kivu region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo before she finally reached the Rwandan border.  She cries as she explains her ordeal.

She says war has broken out in Congo and the fighting forced her and her family to flee into the forest.  She says that, in the chaos, she lost her husband and her daughter. She does not know what became of them.  

The recent influx of refuges into Rwanda from neighboring Congo, began 10 days ago following clashes between the Congolese army and former soldiers loyal to Bosco Ntaganda, a militia leader wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

The flow of refugees crossing Rwanda’s La Corniche border post in Gisenyi has since continued, with a slow but steady trickle of new arrivals crossing into the country at all hours.

Some refugees are working with officials to build additional shelters at Rwanda’s Nkamira Transit Center, 22 kilometers from the border with the DRC.  The center is operating at more than double its current capacity.  Anouck Bronee is the external relations officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Rwanda.

“The capacity of Nkamira Transit center is 5,000, when all the shelters are fully operational," said Bronee. "Currently we are working on rehabilitating 19 shelters and building another 13 to boost the capacity of the center.  In partnership with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs and other UN partners such as UNICEF, World Food Program, WHO, UNFPA, UNDP, we’re working together to try and increase the capacity of the center.”

Although much of the focus on the current crisis has been directed towards the hunt for Bosco Ntaganda, Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo says attention should be directed towards the larger issues facing the region.

“One individual is not worth the lives of so many Congolese," said Mushikiwabo. "That’s really a very important point.  So as much as it’s sexy and there’s a campaign and all of that, let’s think about the ordinary Congolese citizens. They deserve peace and they deserve to be cared for like anybody else.”  

The conflict began last week, after hundreds of Ntaganda loyalists deserted the army.  The loyalists defected because President Joseph Kabila said Ntaganda should be arrested, though the president specified the warlord should be tried in Congo, not handed over to the ICC.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs