KAMPALA – UGANDA has received some 1 240 new refugee arrivals from the neighbouring Democratic of the Congo (DRC).
A majority are fleeing arbitrary killings, rape, abductions and looting by the Mai-Mai militia and other armed opposition groups in the explosive North Kivu.
The refugees have crossed to Uganda via Kisoro and Kanungu, bringing the total number of new arrivals to 9 505 since mid-December.
Most have crossed through the crocodile-infested Lake Albert using shaky boats while others have come in through Uganda’s southwestern borders with the DRC.
Earlier this week, heavy fighting between government forces and armed opposition groups have intensified in and around Beni town, in North Kivu, raising fears more civilians would flee. North Kivu is politically unstable and has been one of the flashpoints in military conflicts in the region since 1998.
“Under the prevailing security situation, it is likely that a large number of local Congolese may flee and seek safety in Uganda given the proximity of Beni to the Ugandan border (about 85 kilometers),” said a spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
In recent days, the agency has reported congestion at some centres hosting refugees from DRC.
Health and community services personnel are not sufficient for humanitarian partners to carry out community outreach activities, including awareness raising on health issues, prevention and response to sexual and gender based-violence.
Authorities called for the speedy upgrading of new refugee reception centres accommodate new arrivals.
– CAJ News