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Thousands of Congolese flee insecurity

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KIGALI, 22 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - At least 3,300 Congolese from North Kivu Province, eastern DRC, have fled into Rwanda since the beginning of April to escape insecurity caused by militiamen, a UN official told IRIN on Friday.

"As of this morning, we have received 700," Volker Schimmel, the spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

Most of the arrivals were from Rutshuru and Masisi areas, to the north of Goma, the North Kivu provincial capital.

Schimmel said UNHCR had not yet confirmed the reasons why the refugees had fled. However, he added, they had spoken of atrocities committed by Rwandan Hutu rebel groups and members of the Congolese army.

The refugee agency is catering for the Congolese at transit centres in Rwanda's northwestern province of Gisenyi.


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