1400 Congolese nationals flee to Uganda


Mai Mai militia reportedly forcing hundreds out of their homes


Thousands of people are fleeing the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Uganda over alleged forced recruitment and rape by the Mai Mai militia.

The refugees are entering Uganda through Bunagana and Nyabwishenya in Kisoro and Ishasha in Kanungu districts, southwestern Uganda.

In a period of less than a month , over 1400 Congolese have arrived in Uganda and are being received by the authorities at Nyakabande refugees’ reception Centre in Kisoro. Authorities at the camp reveal that the refugees report that there is total breakdown of law and order in eastern DR Congo.

Pauline Abina the Camp Commandant at Nyakabande told this website that the numbers are continuously increasing. Abina adds that the numbers tripled in April compared to March when the camp only received about 200 families. By last week, the camp had over 1000 refugees some of whom have been relocated to Rwamwanja in Kamwenge District.

The Mai Mai are said to have embarked on a move to strengthen their forces after being weakened by the DR Congo government force mid last year.

Some of the refugees say that alongside forced recruitment by the Mai Mai forces, the government army has since the defeat of the M23 rebels in late 2013 been targeting the Banyamulenge communities accusing them of collaborating with the Rwandan government and aiding the ousted rebels.

At the camp, Pauline Abina says the refugees have reported various abuses ranging from forced recruitment and rape.

Kisoro Resident District Commissioner Pulkeria Muhindo says that the security committee has also improved its vigilance and focused on screening those who enter Uganda to avoid infiltration by wrong elements. She says that transport means have been put in place to help the refugees after crossing into Uganda and transport them to the reception centre.