Crisis in Eastern Congo : Rwanda and Tanzania receive more than 8,000 new Congolese refugees

Crisis in Eastern Congo : Rwanda and Tanzania receive more than 8,000 new Congolese refugees

In Rwanda, the UNHCR, which gives the figures, explains that humanitarian needs are multiplying as the number of Congolese fleeing to Rwanda in search of safety continues to increase. They are around 6,000, figures that relate to the last three months only. In Tanzania, authorities of this country announce that they have received more than 2,600 Congolese since March 10. Among them are former refugees. INFO SOS Médias Burundi


Following intensified fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), thousands of Congolese nationals have been forced to flee their homes. Hundreds of them continue to arrive in Rwanda every week in search of safety, according to the UNHCR, which is looking after them.

Most first stayed at Kijote transit center for a week before moving to Nkamira transit site in Rubavu district, bordering Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

“We left because of the fighting. Our neighbors were being killed. It was not easy to get here, there were many checkpoints and militiamen on the way. Sometimes they took people to the checkpoints, but we were lucky. We managed to get through”, refugees told the UNHCR.

“We came to Rwanda because it is safer than back home. We only brought the clothes we were wearing. It is not possible to carry a bag when someone is running after you”, they added.

Escalating violence in eastern DRC has forced more than 5,400 new asylum seekers to seek refuge in Rwanda over the past three months. The new arrivals are currently being accommodated in Nkamira transit site in the northwest of the country, while others who arrived before January 12 have been transferred to Mahama refugee camp in eastern Rwanda. .

In addition to new arrivals, Rwanda is also home to more than 72,000 Congolese refugees. They are hosted in five camps across the country. Some of them have been living in the camps for almost three decades.

The UNHCR, other United Nations agencies, NGOs and the Rwandan government are doing everything possible to make the stay of Congolese refugees on Rwandan territory decent.

Despite continuous efforts to meet growing needs, access to basic needs such as shelter to avoid overcrowding, medicines, food stocks, mattresses… remains out of reach, alarms the UNHCR.


In Tanzania, authorities of this country have announced that they have already received more than 2,600 Congolese, asylum seekers since March 10.

The regional official in charge of refugees in the Kigoma region in northwestern Tanzania unveiled the figures on Wednesday in a press conference with local journalists.

“In collaboration with the UNHCR, we receive at least 300 Congolese asylum seekers every day. They come mainly from the Kivu region. They come from the towns of Beni and Goma”, declared Noashoni Joel Makundi.

So far, 600 of them have already been transferred to the Nyarugusu refugee camp which hosts more than 135,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees.

“Fighting continues between M23 rebels and FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo). Our brothers and sisters are killed and we too were threatened, which is why we chose to flee”, testified Congolese welcomed in Kigoma.

Some arrivals return to exile and Tanzanian authorities know this.

“It is for this reason that we must carry out thorough investigations before transferring them to Nyarugusu camp”, said Kigoma region governor Thobias Andengenye.

Congolese hosted by Tanzania are hosted in a hangar in the capital of Kigoma. According to latest UNHCR statistics, Tanzania is hosting more than 80,000 Congolese refugees.

Inhabitants of the eastern region of the vast central African country continue to flee their country at a time when new camps for the displaced are being created there.

According to the OCHA humanitarian affairs coordination office, nearly 530,000 people have had to flee their homes following hostilities and insecurity in recent months in the province of North Kivu alone.

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