Clashes between government forces and M23 rebels resumed last Thursday in the Rutshuru territory, sending at least 11,000 people to seek refuge in neighboring Uganda.

Fighting between M23 rebels and DRC forces started in March when the rebels overran the border town of Bunagana.
Fighting between M23 rebels and DRC forces started in March when the rebels overran the border town of Bunagana. (Reuters Archive)

Some 11,000 Congolese refugees, mostly women and children, have flocked into Uganda since Friday fleeing fighting between M23 rebels and Democratic Republic of the Congo government forces, the UN refugee agency has said.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement on Sunday that 8,000 Congolese refugees had entered Uganda through the Bunagana border area and 3,000 through the Kibaya border area.

War resumed last Thursday in DRC’s North Kivu province when government forces clashed with M23 rebels who have been in the area for about six months.

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Thomas Kasolo, a security officer in the Kisoro district, said the district is overwhelmed by the large number of refugees who are flocking into the district because they have to provide them with basic necessities like food and water.

Red Cross spokesperson Irene Nakasita said: "Due to fresh fighting, we have more asylum seekers coming into Uganda from DR Congo. Among the new arrivals include those who had returned recently thinking the situation was getting better".

District resident commissioner Shafik Sekandi told the media that the number of refugees entering the district is considerable and called on relevant organisations to help them in any way possible.

Fighting between M23 rebels and DRC forces started in March when the rebels overran the border town of Bunagana and surrounding areas which they have been occupying since then.

Democratic Republic of the Congo accuses neighbouring Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels, claims Rwanda denies.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies