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[UPDATED] New influx of Congolese refugees enter Rwanda

16 March 2013

A new wave of Congolese refugees including combatants fleeing recent fighting between two factions of M23 rebels have crossed into North Western Rwanda overnight.

Foreign Minister and Government spokesperson Louise Mushikiwabo confirmed that among the recent influx are about 600 combatants:

"The soldiers and officers from DRC that have entered Rwanda have been disarmed and detained. Several wounded among them are receiving treatment with assistance from the Red Cross. We are consulting several regional and international organisations to facilitate appropriate handling of this new group of refugees."

Among those who have sought refuge in Rwanda is Bishop Jean-Marie Runiga, former president of M23, who has been kept separately away from the refugee camp for his own safety and has requested to go to Uganda.

A team comprised of Rwandan military officials, defense personnel from Kigali-based embassies and journalists have arrived at the Kabuhanga border crossing to observe this development.

"Instability in the DRC continues to directly affect Rwanda as demonstrated by this new wave of refugees. Rwanda recently signed on to the UN-led Peace Framework for the DRC and we remain committed to working with our neighbour states and other partners for an end to conflict in Eastern DRC."

Over 25,000 Congolese entered Rwanda as a result of resurgence of conflict in Eastern DRC last year. Close to 18,000 live in the Kigeme refugee camp in Southern Rwanda and another 7,766 are housed at the Nkamira transit camp in Rubavu.

END


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