Thousands of Rwandans in Congo try to return home: UN

Thousands of Rwandans living in the DR Congo are trying to go home due to fighting in their host country, the United Nations refugee agency said.

Thousands of Rwandans in Congo try to return home: UN

Thousands of Rwandans living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including some who fled the 1994 genocide, are trying to go home due to fighting in their host country, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.

"A growing number of Rwandan civilians are emerging from remote areas of the eastern DR Congo seeking to repatriate," Ron Redmond, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a news briefing.

Some are walking for two days to get to UNHCR aid centres in Congo's South Kivu region, where tensions have been rising in the past month since Rwandan and Congolese forces teamed up to fight Rwandan Hutu rebels.

More than 1,400 Rwandans have already headed back across the border and Redmond said aid workers are anticipating thousands more to follow shortly.

"The Rwandan civilians, mainly women and children, say they are returning home willingly," he said.

Last month, 3,500 Rwandan soldiers crossed over the border into the North Kivu province at Congo's invitation to pursue the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FLDR).

The presence of the mainly Hutu FLDR, some of whose members carried out the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred, is seen as at the root of continuing conflict in Congo's troubled east.

Congolese President Joseph Kabila said last week the visiting Rwandan forces would leave by end-February. Great Lakes neighbours Congo and Rwanda were foes in a 1998-2003 war.

Reuters

Last Mod: 07 Şubat 2009, 14:43
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