Saturday, 4 December, 2021

NEWS in brief

15,000 C Africans flee to DR Congo to escape fighting

GEMENA: More than 15,000 Central Africans fleeing clashes between the army and rebels crossed the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo in 17 days, a local official said, appealing for help.

"In total, 15,059 Central African refugees, (including) 1,637 women and 11,892 children, have arrived in Bosobolo territory,"the district's administrator, Jeannot Haolo, told AFP on Thursday. The influx was recorded between October 10-27, he said. Those fleeing were escaping violence between rebels and advancing pro-government forces, particularly near the southern border town of Kouango.

The violence has also displaced 738,000 people inside the Central African Republic (CAR), according to a Unicef report released last April.

"We call for the urgent involvement of the authorities and humanitarian partners on behalf of these refugees," Haolo said.

"Our population is already overwhelmed by the first waves which arrived and now others are being added."

Bosobolo is in North Ubangi province in northwestern DRC, on the border with the CAR, which is delineated by the Ubangi River, a tributary.

According to the UN's refugee agency, there are 221,694 Central Africans with refugee status in the DRC, of whom 114,008 are in North Ubangi.

In October, 250 Central African refugees were repatriated to the CAR capital Bangui, Michel Siazo, the mayor of the Congolese town of Zongo in South Ubangi, told AFP.