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Nearly 3,000 Congolese Refugees Arrive In Burundi

Nearly 3,000 Congolese Refugees Arrive In Burundi, UN Says

Nearly 3,000 refugees who have fled to Burundi following recent fighting in the eastern Congolese city of Bukavu are receiving enough assistance to last them for 10 days, the United Nations refugee agency said today. Smaller numbers were still crossing the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which received a report from a four-member investigating team just back from the area.

Meanwhile, an additional 2,700 Congolese refugees, escaping from fighting in Bukavu, north of Uvira, have crossed into Rwanda in the last two weeks, the agency reported on Thursday.

The largest group in Burundi, 1,652 people, mostly women and children, arrived in the border town of Gatumba at the northern tip of Lake Tangyanika, saying they had learned of the fighting that broke out in Bukavu on 26 May and fled in panic from their homes in the Kimanga, Bien mal acquis, and Nyamyanda areas of Uvira province.

They were transferred to Gasorwe refugee camp.

A group of 1,040 refugees, now in the Cibitoke centre, were mainly farmers from Bwegera, who risked their lives crossing the Ruzizi River, UNHCR said.

Another 60 people arrived at the Rugombo Communal Centre after hearing distant gunshots and fleeing the towns of Ngueshi, Walungu, Kamanyola, Luvunge and Katogote, the agency said. Not far away, another group of 100 people, mainly teenage students, said they joined family members and neighbours who were running away.

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