DRC refugees won't go home

2010-05-28 10:56
Congo - Tens of thousands of refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are refusing to leave deteriorating conditions in camps in neighbouring Congo Republic due to fears of attacks by the army back home.
Relief organisations estimate that some 120 000 civilians from the DRC fled fighting in the remote Equateur province late last year, crossing into the other, former French, Congo.

They remain there despite poor conditions, an end to clashes and appeals for them to go home.

"We fled insecurity so how can we be expected to go back to insecurity?" said Janvier Iguena, 42, who left DRC with his eight children and two wives and is now the head of the refugee delegation in Betou, Congo Republic.

"Some of us who tried to return home were attacked by the army, some of our wives were raped by them," he said.

"No - there is no question of us going back straight away unless there are guarantees for our safety," he told a Reuters reporter who travelled to the town some 1 000 km north of the capital Brazzaville this week.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has strongly denied accusations of army attacks on civilians in the area.

Aid workers have struggled to reach the refugees, who are spread out across inaccessible bush regions where the borders of the two Congos and Central African Republic meet.

Lack of funds

Three months of food for some 50 000 of the most vulnerable was handed out in February. The remaining refugees and their host communities also received fishing kits and farming equipment to help them get by.

"(The situation) is worrying because we have not been able to help all the refugees due to the lack of money and especially the problems linked to the water levels - the lack of water means we cannot ship aid in bulk (up the river)," said Daniel Roger Ntam, local head of the UN refugee agency.

Congo is recovering from decades of war and chaos, with investors excited over the vast untapped mineral and oil reserves but the government still having to contend with a plethora of rebellions across the vast, fractious state.

As with most of the millions of deaths during the DRC's years of conflict, it is living conditions in the bush, as much as the the fighting itself, that take the greatest toll.

In some locations along the Oubangui river, refugees have resorted to drinking the muddy brown water and children have fallen ill. Sleeping without any form of shelter, many others have caught malaria.

The refugees fled fighting that erupted in Equateur last October. The conflict, initially between communities clashing over fishing rights, spread last month when local Enyele ethnic rebels seized a provincial airport.

Although they were defeated after several days of fighting, the violence highlighted the Congolese army's continued dependence on United Nations peacekeepers, despite the government's plans for them to soon start leaving the country.

Diplomats fear the weak government forces, which are widely accused of committing abuses, will be unable fill the gap left by the world body's soldiers, who number some 22 000 in the former Belgian colony.

Read more on:    drc  |  central africa  |  refugees
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

 
 

Men24.com

Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!
Hottie of the day: Jesselyn

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

¿Hablas español?

Western Cape
Cozens Recruitment Group ( Western Cape)
R10 000 - R11 000 Per Month

Debtors Clerk (Western Cape)

Cape Town CBD
Mpumalanga Personnel & Training Consultants

Technical Sales Rep

Cape Winelands
Vine Recruitment

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

24 hour sale – Up to 70% off

Its black Friday, save up to 70% on a wide range of awesome products at kalahari.com. Offers valid while stocks last. T&C’s apply. Shop now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Grandiose ideas and plans can trip you up today. Keep things in context and take one step at a time....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.