Surge of Congolese refugees into Rwanda


DRC's M23 rebels that terrorise civilians. File photo

from PHYLLIS BIRORI in Kigali, Rwanda
Rwanda Bureau
KIGALI, (CAJ News) – THE escalation in fighting within eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is resulting in an increase of new asylum seekers arriving in neighbouring Rwanda.

United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) disclosed that 5 370 new asylum seekers arrived in Rwanda from DRC between November 2022 to February 23 this year.

New arrivals were initially received at Kijote Transit Centre before being transferred to Mahama refugee camp.

Due to the increasing numbers, however, and the fact that Mahama Camp has reached capacity, on January 12, the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) informed UNHCR of the decision of the Government of Rwanda to host asylum seekers close to the border at a new site, Nkamira.

Since January 15, asylum seekers have been transferred from Kijote to Nkamira, depending on the accommodation available at Nkamira.

On February 8, Kijote was emptied, with all new arrivals directly transferred to Nkamira due to the completion of construction and available space to accommodate the remaining individuals.

A majority – 99 percent- of arrivals originate from North Kivu.

There were no immediate comment from both the Congolese and Rwandan governments on the support they were giving to the refugees following begging bowl from the United Nations’ refugees agency.

Eastern DRC is a battleground pitting government forces and rebel forces. Rwanda is accused of backing up some of the rebel movements.

– CAJ News









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