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Congolese Refugees Reach 43,000 as Tension Continues :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Congolese Refugees Reach 43,000 as Tension Continues

Douglas Asiimwe, the Principle Refugee Protection Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister told URN on phone that 26,900 Congolese refugees have arrived in the country from January this year from Ituri via Lake Albert while another 14,500 crossed from North Kivu to Kisoro and Kanungu districts through the porous borders.
Refugees arrive on boats
The number of refugees fleeing the deadly Lendu-Hema conflict in Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of Congo--DRC has hit 43,000, according to information from the Office of the Prime Minister.  At least 3500 Congolese flee into Uganda on average each day.

Douglas Asiimwe, the Principal Refugee Protection Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister told URN on phone that 26,900 Congolese refugees have arrived in the country from January this year from Ituri via Lake Albert while another 14,500 crossed from North Kivu to Kisoro and Kanungu districts through the porous borders.

The UNHCR Resident Coordinator, Bornwell Katande, says the crisis is looming and they are mobilizing emergency staff to support the response. "All humanitarian workers are coming together to help in this situation, and the numbers are growing day by day.We need more support especially resources, but also in terms of personnel" Bornwell said.

Unless the situation on the ground improves, the number of refugees is expected to surpase the 60,000 mark estimate by UNHCR. Fighting among the two communities 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 centers of power.

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

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