from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – ESCALATING violence in the unstable Central African Republic (CAR) has driven over 102 000 civilians into the equally ungovernable Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Of these, 60 000 have fled to the neighbouring country since the ethnic violence between Christian die-hards and Muslim radicals peaked in CAR in May.
The refugees are accommodated in churches, derelict buildings, schools and clinics while some are sleeping in the open after crossing the border.
“Refugees are staying everywhere they can. They desperately need more healthcare, food and shelter,” a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman said.
Incessant clashes between Islamist and Christian extremists have battered CAR since 2013 when the government of President Francois Bozize, a
Christian, was overthrown.
Muslim leader Michel Am-Nondokro Djotodia took over but resigned a year later after the upsurge in violence.
The government of Faustin-Archange Touadéra, elected last year, has struggled to stem the anarchy.
DRC is also experiencing some militancy that has worsened since President Joseph Kabila remained in power despite the expiry of his mandate late last year.
Thousands of Congolese have fled to Angola, which itself is undergoing tension ahead of elections set for next month.
Of the US$55 million (R712,5 million) UN needs in funding for the DRC-CAR situation this year, only $2,8 million has so far been received.
– CAJ News