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.
x
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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid