D.R. Congo Refugees Return from Uganda

DR Congo refugees return from Uganda (News Central TV)
DR Congo refugees return from Uganda (News Central TV)

Hundreds of Congolese refugees are returning to their villages after crossing into Uganda through a Ugandan border town.

Thousands of people had fled their homes earlier this week after violence broke out in the Rutshuru district of North Kivu province between Congolese government forces and M23 rebels.

Bunagana was a bustle of activity on Friday morning, with people pulling cattle across the border and lugging personal items.

On the Ugandan side, the refugees camped for days in schools and churches, while others were accommodated by friends and relatives nearby.

Many people were unwilling to register with Ugandan authorities and humanitarian organisations for fear of being relocated to designated resettlement zones, making it more difficult to return home.

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Lorries are now permitted to travel over the border, which was previously blocked to traffic and commerce.

The rebels, who are primarily made up of Congolese army deserters, claim to be fighting for the rights of Congolese ethnic Tutsis.

Earlier, the Democratic Republic of Congo claimed that some Rwandan military were supporting the rebels, an allegation Kigali disputed.

M23 insurgents seized huge swaths of North Kivu a decade ago, but were eventually routed and disarmed as part of a regional peace settlement, with most of the rebels being sent to Ugandan camps.

However, after concerns that the agreement was not being followed, they have begun progressively departing the camps in recent months.

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