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Water Crisis Hits Bunagana as Thousands of Congolese Fleeing Fighting Flood Town :: Uganda Radionetwork

Water Crisis Hits Bunagana as Thousands of Congolese Fleeing Fighting Flood Town

Ismail Ndayambaje, the Bunagana town council LC3 chairman says that on Sunday morning more than 4,000 refugees have crossed into Bunagana. He admits that the refugees are suffering extremely due to the complete lack of water in the town council since since the crisis started on Saturday.
Some of the refugees stuck at bunagana border (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)

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Bunagana town council is currently in a complete water crisis as thousands of Congolese refugees flood the area following heavy fighting between Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers and the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels which intensified in Rutshuru territory on this morning. 

Clashes which had lulled on Saturday resumed heavily on Sunday morning at around 07; 00 AM.   FARDC soldiers were shelling rebels’ positions of Tchanzu and Runyoni hills from Bunagana border and Tchengerero as rebels also fight in an attempt to take Karambo-Bunagana border.  

The fighting has also increased tension on both sides of the border. 


Our reporter at the scene saw thousands of refugees occupying major areas in the town council. The Congolese side of Bunagana was seen empty of civilians and occupied by mostly FARDC soldiers.  Other refugees were seen on the Ugandan side of Bunagana and Ruchinga hills trying to peep and assess how fighting is ongoing on in Congo.

    However, while in Bunagana town council, refugees are finding a hard time as they found all water sources dry.  Some of them were seen attempting to brave to cross back to fetch water from their country, but being stopped by Ugandan security officers due to heavy gunfire that were being heard a few kilometers from the border.   

Robert Gisanabagabo, one of the Congolese refugees says that fighting erupted at around 07:00 AM when even some of the locals were still sleeping. He says that due to heavy gunfire exchange, all of them fled to Uganda.  

Gisanabagabo says that while on the Ugandan side of Bunagana, they found another problem of the water crisis.  He says that they are now stuck with no water to at least prepare porridge for children who are hungry.   

//Cue in: “twali tuli mulugo….//

Cue out: …abana banywe.”//

  Other Congolese refugees who identified as Jean Maniriho, Rafael Mushiime, and Maul Baraka say that the whole area where fighting is happening has remained empty of civilians.  They say that the problem of the water crisis at the Bunagana border has left them stuck with nothing to use for cooking.

//Cue in: “aha ngaaha nta…//

Cue out: …nti wareeba.”//

  Ismail Ndayambaje, Bunagana town council LC3 chairman says that since Sunday morning more than 4,000 refugees have crossed into Bunagana.  He also admits that the refugees are suffering more due to the complete lack of water in the town council.  He says that the crisis started on Saturday. 

Due to the crisis, refugees are battling security as they try to to cross back to fetch some for cooking. The chairman supports the security stance of blocking them from crossing back saying that sounds of gunfire are still being heard.

He says that his office is trying to contact National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) to find out the real cause of the problem of the water crisis. He says that in case NWSC does not quickly solve the problem, he will contact the Uganda Police Fire brigade department to improvise with a police water vehicle.   

//Cue in: “they seem to be…//

Cue out: ….for water.”//

By press time, fighting was still going on as FARD soldiers use combat tanks to repel the rebels who are trying to advance to Bunagana border. 

A Congolese security source revealed to our reporter on condition of anonymity that at the moment Bunagana is under enemy threat. Transport connecting Bunagana-Tchengerero-Rutshuru has been cut off from the Ugandan border.   

The spokesperson for the Sokolo 2 operational sector, Lieutenant-Colonel Njike Kaiko says that he will comment on the matter later.  

Patrick Muyaya, DR Congo’s Government Spokesperson and Minister of Communication and Media said in a tweet on Sunday afternoon that Bunagana still remains under FARDC control and many losses have been inflicted on the aggressors.  

Bertrand Bisimwa, the M23 rebels’ president, has also said in a tweet that the M23 was attacked by the FARDC and collaborators on Sunday morning in Bunagana area. He condemned the attack. “The FARDC and FDLR coalition this morning attacked around 5 a.m. the M23 positions around Bunagana. The Congolese government should stop this war and return to dialogue as proposed by the conclave of 4 EAC Heads of State supported by the United Nations and the African Union,” says Bisimwa in a tweet.  

DR Congo accuses Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels. 

On Wednesday, the DR Congo government accused Rwanda of deploying 500 of its Special Forces soldiers in the vicinity of Tchanzu, all dressed in new green-black uniforms and wearing helmets to back up M23 rebels.   

Both Rwanda and M23 rebels have strongly refuted the accusations. Rwanda has instead also accused DR Congo of shelling its territory in Kinigi and Nyanze sectors, Musanze district, and Gahunga sector in Burera district. M23 claims that it is a movement that fights bad leadership in DR Congo based on corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination.  

The rebel group accuse FARDC of collaborating with other militia groups and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to fight.     

Last Wednesday, MONUSCO accused and condemned the attack perpetrated by the M23 on Tuesday against a position of peacekeepers in Shangi, in the territory of Rutshuru in North Kivu.  According to MONUSCO three peacekeepers were injured and evacuated to Goma for treatment.  

M23 is yet to make a statement. 

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