Uganda -Thousands of Congolese have fled to neighboring Uganda after fighting erupted between the national army and M23 rebels in eastern DRC earlier this week. Kinshasa is now requesting that they return to their communities, but the locals are hesitant, fearful for their lives. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, about 10,000 people have already crossed the border.
The rebels retreated from positions taken on the road leading from Goma, North Kivu’s city, to Bunagana, Uganda’s border, a few days ago. For unknown reasons, a United Nations helicopter crashed near Bunagana on Tuesday, killing eight peacekeepers. “I was living in Bunagana and selling hemp there. I planned to go to a village near Runyoni to market my business, but I was shot, and now I’m in this situation, “Seka Junior, who was injured in the incident and is recovering in a Rushuru hospital, explains.
Many more residents who were unable to flee the nation rushed to Rutshuru, where they found tenuous sanctuary in schools and churches. “The rebels are still in our villages; it’s too difficult to return because we can’t live together; there may be further clashes, and we’ll be victims,” Bibwesho, a displaced Rutshuru resident, says. According to the UN, about 36,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the 10,000 refugees who are living in Uganda.