7 000 flee DRC fighting for Burundi in just three days

accreditation
iStock
iStock

Bukavu - Laden with mattresses, suitcases, solar panels, chairs and plastic buckets, thousands of refugees have crossed into Burundi in the past three days to flee fierce fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi police said on Friday.

Nearly 7 000 Congolese have crossed Lake Tanganyika and taken refuge in Burundi since Wednesday as clashes raged between DRC government forces and rebels in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu.

"Yesterday, Lake Tanganyika seemed to be completely covered by hundreds of boats of all sizes, packed with refugees and their property, it was quite sight," one rights activist told AFP.

Burundi police said a total of 6 692 people had registered as refugees since Wednesday to escape fighting between the army and the Yakutumba militia, although the flow appeared to have since slowed.

President Joseph Kabila, speaking at a rare press conference, described the security situation in the east, much of which is in the hands of rival militias, as "worrying".

A refugee who crossed into Burundi described "very difficult living conditions" there, adding: "There has been no food or water for the vast majority of us, we don't have any toilets."

There was no immediate comment from the UN refugee agency or the Burundian authorities about the situation.

The DRC government last week announced it was waging "war" against two militias in the east - the Yakutumba and the Ugandan Islamist rebels of the Allied Democratic Force (ADF).

The ADF are active in North Kivu while the Congolese Yakutumba are several hundreds of kilometres away in South Kivu. Both regions border Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

Rival militia groups have long held sway over large areas in the two provinces, often competing for their rich mineral resources.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, I believed it was authentic
7% - 190 votes
Yes, I didn't want to spend that much money on the original item
20% - 572 votes
No, I always shop at reputable stores
14% - 393 votes
No, I don't wear designer clothing
59% - 1666 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.92
-1.1%
Rand - Pound
20.40
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
17.48
+0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.83
+0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.2%
Gold
1,750.56
0.0%
Silver
22.43
0.0%
Palladium
1,974.50
0.0%
Platinum
987.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
78.09
+1.1%
Top 40
57,643
0.0%
All Share
64,049
0.0%
Resource 10
57,254
0.0%
Industrial 25
82,879
0.0%
Financial 15
14,316
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE