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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Over 3,000 asylum seekers from DR Congo flee to Burundi       

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- Over 3,000 asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) have arrived in Burundi to avoid fighting in eastern DR Congo, local authorities told Xinhua by phone on Thursday.

According to governors of Makamba and Rumonge provinces in southwestern Burundi, those asylum seekers arrived via Lake Tanganyika by boats.

“Since yesterday (Wednesday), we are receiving an influx of refugees from eastern DR Congo. By now, we have received over 2,000 refugees. And more and more are coming,” said Juvenal Bigirimana, governor of Rumonge province.

Bigirimana said those asylum seekers are mainly Congolese nationals and Burundian nationals, who fled fighting between Mai-Mai rebels and the Congolese army in DR Congo’s South Kivu province.

Bigirimana also said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the National Office in charge of the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (ONPRA) and the Rumonge administration are seeking ways to relocate those asylum seekers in refugee camps.

“We (The Rumonge administration) are trying our best to get food items for them as no charitable organization has so far assisted them,” Bigirimana said.

Makamba Governor Gad Niyukuri said that over 1,000 asylum seekers from DR Congo have arrived in the Nyanza-Lac district since Wednesday.

“Those refugees say they left so many others behind, and those are also fleeing the fighting. We have put them in one place,” said Niyukuri.

Niyukuri also said the provincial government fears that the refugees might have brought cholera here as one of them has already shown cholera symptoms.

Burundi has set four refugee camps to host DR Congo nationals.

According to the UN News Service, the inter-ethnic violence and clashes between the regular army, militia and armed groups have left some 1.3 million people displaced in eastern DR Congo’s provinces of Tanganyika and South Kivu.

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EARLIER REPORT:

UN chief voices concern over violence against demonstrators in DRC

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was disturbed by reports of violence against demonstrators in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), his spokesman said Monday.

“The secretary-general urges the Congolese security forces to exercise restraint and to uphold the Congolese people’s right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly,” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

Police crackdown on protests on Sunday against President Joseph Kabila led to six deaths and 63 injuries, the statement said.

The UN chief called on the Congolese authorities to conduct credible investigations into those incidents and to hold those responsible accountable, it added.

Guterres called on Congolese political actors to work toward the full implementation of the Dec. 31, 2016 political agreement, which remains the only viable path to the holding of elections, the peaceful transfer of power and the consolidation of stability in the DRC, it said.

The political agreement allows President Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, to stay on after his term of office expired, on the condition that elections would be held within 2017. But elections were delayed on the grounds of logistic difficulties. On Nov. 5, 2017, the country’s electoral commission published an electoral calendar for the combined presidential, legislative and provincial elections for Dec. 23, 2018.

           

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