North Kivu conflict: Congolese refugees reluctant to move back home

Hauwa Mustapha

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After fighting between the national army and M23 rebels erupted earlier this week in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, thousands of Congolese fled to neighbouring Uganda.

Now, Kinshasa is asking them to regain their villages but people are reluctant fearing for their life.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees says about 10,000 people have already crossed the border.

A few days ago, the rebels retreated from positions taken on the road leading from Goma, the capital of North Kivu, to Bunagana, on the Ugandan border.

It was near Bunagana that a UN helicopter crashed for reasons that remain unknown on Tuesday, killing eight peacekeepers._”I was living in Bunagana where I was selling hemp. I wanted to go and sell my business in a village near Runyoni, and that’s where I was shot, and here I am in this state.”, says _Seka Junior, injured in attack and lying in a hospital in Rushuru.

Many other civilians who didn’t leave the country rushed to Rutshuru, where they found precarious shelter in schools or churches. “The rebels are still in our villages, it’s too complicated to go back because we can’t live together, there may be other clashes and we will be victims.”, says Bibwesho, displaced in Rutshuru.

On top of the 10,000 refugees already in Uganda, according to the UN, about 36,000 civilians have been displaced within the DRC.


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