By APOLINARI TAIRO
Escalating fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has forced over 2,600 people, mostly children, women and elderly persons, to flee to Tanzania since the beginning of March.
In a brief media meeting on Wednesday evening, Tanzania’s Western Zone’s Director of the Refugee Services Department in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr Sudi Mwakibasi, said that DRC citizens had been entering the country in small groups since early March.
He said they were fleeing the escalating war in their country and that they were in groups comprising about 300 to 600 people.
Read: Rebel clashes flare in east DR Congo
By Tuesday, the DRC citizens seeking refuge in Tanzania hit 2,643 people.
“On their arrival, we received and interviewed them. We took them to the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Kasulu District for their asylum application which will be carried out by the National Commission for Granting the Right of Asylum to foreign nationals,” Mr Mwakibasi said.
Congolese refugees fleeing due to fighting between M23 rebels and government forces. PHOTO | NICHOLAS KAJOBA | ANADOLU AGENCY VIA AFP
The coordinator of Western Zone Refugee Department, Nashon Makundi, said that most of the refugees entered Tanzania through Lake Tanganyika.
Kigoma Regional Commissioner Thobias Andengenye confirmed his administrative unit received DRC refugees and said the Tanzanian government was taking appropriate steps to help them.
He urged the DRC refugees to stay calm inside the camp and wait for their refugee qualification status to be approved.
DRC reported that the fighting between the M23 rebels and its government forces in North Kivu province has intensified, forcing residents to flee.
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