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More than 22,000 flee Congo after violent conflict increases More than 22,000 flee Congo after violent conflict increases

More than 22,000 flee Congo after violent conflict increases

Feb 14, 2018

Over 22,000 people fled Congo to Uganda last week following a surge of ethnic violence in the northeast, raising the total number of arrivals to about 34,000 since the start of the year, the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.

At least 30 people have been killed in fighting between Hema herders and Lendu farmers in the province of Ituri this month, echoing clashes that killed thousands of Hema and Lendu during a civil war that ended in 2003.

The UNHCR reported that the refugees are crossing Africa's seventh largest lake in canoes and overcrowded fishing boats, a journey that can take up to 10 hours. Four refugees drowned on Sunday (February 11) after the canoe on which they had been stranded for two days capsized.

Over 1,20,000 Congolese fled to neighbouring countries last year after President Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his mandate in December 2016.

His decision sparked a wave of unrest, raising fears that the mineral-rich Central African country was slipping back into civil war.

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