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DRC Clashes: Over 10,000 Refugees enter Uganda :: Uganda Radionetwork

DRC Clashes: Over 10,000 Refugees enter Uganda

Over 10,000 refugees fleeing the deadly Lendu-Hema conflict in Ituri province in the Democractic Republic of Congo DRC have so far entered Uganda.
Hundreds of refugees are arriving in Small boats into Uganda
Over 10,000 refugees fleeing the deadly Lendu-Hema conflict in Ituri province in the Democractic Republic of Congo (DRC) have so far entered Uganda.

The violence that started late last year has seen at least 30 people killed according to United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Although there was a lull in the conflict in January, violence resumed on February 2, following the hacking to death of 23 women and children from the Hema community.

UNHCR also says the arrivals rate has sharply increased during the reporting period, with a daily average of 568 people compared to 346 during the previous week.

Hillary Onek Obaloker, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees says there are now over 10,000 refugees crossing into Uganda from Congo and many of them are being received in Hoima district. He says Uganda's role is to settle them and the UNHCR is supposed to feed and provide humanitarian aid.

This number is double compared to at least 5,000 refugees reported by 1st of January 2018.

Onek says the numbers are getting too overwhelming with more numbers expected to come in.He says Government is doing its best to receive the refugees, but this situation could get out of hand.

“It's a shared responsibility, these are our neighbours and if there is violence there we cannot just fold our hands.The situation could actually get worse if no serious intervention is made,” Onek told URN in a phone interview.

Only on Monday 1,386 people crossed to Uganda through Lake Albert to the village of Sebagoro, 270 kilometres northwest of the capital Kampala, UNHCR Reports.

The UN Refugee Agency also warns that the situation is not about to stop.It calls for more intervention from different partners to address the situation since reports of thousands more of refugees are still waiting to cross into Uganda.

UNHCR estimates 60,000 expected new arrivals from DRC this year.

Fighting among the two communities had previously devastated the region from 1999 to the early 2000s, leading to large scale internal displacement and refugee movements to Uganda.

The Lendu-Hema ethnic conflict has its own subplot in the wider DRC conflict but is usually the least reported on, perhaps due to its remoteness and the danger it poses to the national centres of power.

Uganda hosts an estimated 1.3 million refugees majority being from South Sudan, where there has been conflict since 2013 when conflict broke out between forces loyal to President Salvar Kiir and First Vice President RieK Machar. Uganda has responded to three concurrent emergency influxes: South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi among others. 

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