GENEVA Swiss (Xinhua) --
UN refugee agency UNHCR on Friday said it
is “shocked and disturbed” after protests led to the
deaths of at least five refugees and injuries to many
others including police forces members in Rwanda.
Cecile Pouilly said at a UN briefing here that UNHCR is
urging authorities in Rwanda to ensure safety and
protection for refugees from the Democratic Republic of
Congo’s (DR Congo) after protests about food rations on
Thursday led to the deaths.
around 700 Congolese refugees from Kiziba refugee camp
had been demonstrating outside the UNHCR field office in
Karongi, western Rwanda.
protests, ongoing since Feb. 20, were related to food
ration cuts that have added to the refugees’ sense of
despair and lack of long-term prospective,” said Pouilly.
reported to have used teargas to disperse the
protesters, after attempts to resolve the situation had
failed and clashes were reported.
that our continued appeals for maintaining calm and
restraint were not considered. This tragedy should have
been avoided and disproportionate use of force against
desperate refugees is not acceptable,” said Pouilly.
calling on authorities to refrain from further use of
force and to investigate the circumstances of this
noted that underfunding has severely affected
humanitarian operations in Rwanda, now with deadly
consequences. UNHCR’s 2018 appeal for 98.8 million U.S.
dollars to support refugees in Rwanda is only 2 percent
refugees live in six camps in Rwanda. Kiziba refugee
camp hosts over 17,000 refugees from DR Congo.
Democratic Republic of
the Congo refugees killed in Rwanda food ration
KIGALI Democratic Republic of
the Congo (Xinhua) -- Five
people were killed and 22 others wounded on Tuesday as
protests over reduced food rations by refugees from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) turned violent,
Rwandan police said Friday.
refugees left the Kiziba refugee camp in Karongi
District and began protesting, police said on their
official Twitter account.
officials from the government, United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and local leaders told
them to return to the camp as their grievances were
being looked into, the protesters, armed with stones,
sticks and metal objects, began to assault police
“proportional force” to bring the situation under
control, the tweet said, adding that 20 rioters and
seven police officers were injured in the scuffles.
were rushed to hospital where five protesters succumbed
to their injuries.
15 refugees had been arrested for illegal demonstration
and inciting violence.
camp hosts over 17,000 refugees, around 77 percent of
whom are women and children, according to the UNHCR.
The UNHCR on
Thursday called on the refugees and the Rwandan
authorities to keep calm and show restraint.
It also said
some refugees have indicated their desire to return to
the DRC and urged the refugees to make an informed
decision and not to listen to misinformation or rumors
while they have the right to return to their country.
operations in Rwanda remain “severely underfunded,”
forcing the World Food Programme to cut food rations for
refugees by 10 percent in November 2017, and by 25
percent in January 2018, according to the UNHCR.
over 173,000 refugees in six camps.
Republic of the Congo refugees killed by cholera in
KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) --
The number of refugees killed by cholera
in Uganda’s Hoima district has risen from nine to 15,
while 502 others were admitted to hospitals, a Ugandan
refugee official said Friday.
Kebirungi, the Kyangwali Settlement Commandant, said by
Friday morning more admissions were expected.
“Most of the
deaths and infections happened before we ascertained the
real cause of the sickness. We have made several
interventions such as case management, water treatment,
sensitizasion and isolation,” Kebirungi said.
that so far three health centers of Rwenyawawa, Kasunga
and Kituti, all in the refugee catchment area of
Kyangwali, are being used as isolation centers.
have a team at the reception centers where screening is
done before the refugees are allowed to enter the
settlement,” Kebirungi told Xinhua.
located 230 km northwest of the Ugandan capital Kampala,
is at the border with the Democratic Republic of the
clashes in eastern DRC have been fueling the refugee
inflow in Uganda. About 20,000 Congolese have crossed to
Uganda through Lake Albert since last December.
the Hoima district disease surveillance officer, told
Xinhua on Thursday that “the outbreak is still going on
although we have made some interventions.”
“There is so
much influx of refugees from Congo. Even yesterday I was
at Sebigoro landing site and many of them were yet to be
transferred to the settlement camp in Kyangwali,”
At least two killed
during anti-government march
in Democratic Republic of the Congo capital
KINSHASA Democratic Republic of
the Congo (Xinhua) -- At least
two people were killed and three injured during a
political demonstration in the capital of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Sunday, according to
witness at the scene.
against the Kabila government was convened by the
catholic churches to demand respect for the political
agreement signed on Dec. 31, 2016. Police fired on
protesters, according to the witness who required
The DRC is
going through an unprecedented political crisis since
the expiry of the term of its current President Joseph
Kabila. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI)
has published an electoral calendar that sets the
presidential elections in December 2018. But this
calendar has already been rejected by opponents who have
repeatedly called demonstrations since then.