Refugees flock to Malawi as con­flict in­ten­si­fies in the Congo

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

LI­LONGWE: Im­pov­er­ished Malawi is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an in­flux of refugees from the Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of the Congo (DRC) as a re­sult of the es­ca­lat­ing po­lit­i­cal and hu­man­i­tar­ian sit­u­a­tion in the Cen­tral African coun­try.

It is es­ti­mated that 10000 Con­golese may seek refuge in Malawi by the end of the year.

The mass ar­rivals of refugees in­di­cates the depth of the strife in the DRC: Malawi is not a neigh­bour­ing coun­try; it is fur­ther south, with Zam­bia in be­tween.

In the wake of the in­flux by the Con­golese, the gov­ern­ment of Malawi and the UN High Com­mis­sioner of Refugees are lead­ing an in­ter-agency mis­sion to as­sess the state of re­cep­tion fa­cil­i­ties in Karonga and Chi­tipa districts in the north of the coun­try.

The ar­eas are suf­fer­ing se­vere hunger be­cause of the worst drought in decades.

Mean­while, Neno district in the south is host­ing about 3 000 refugees from Mozam­bique, who fled ban­dits of the op­po­si­tion Mozam­bique Na­tional Re­sis­tance (Re­n­amo).

In the DRC, clashes be­tween mili­tia and gov­ern­ment forces have left more than 2600 peo­ple dead in the past year. Many mil­i­tants are op­posed to Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila’s con­tin­ued stay in power de­spite the lapse of his man­date late last year.

More than 5 000 civil­ians have fled to An­gola in the west.

The army and po­lice have been ac­cused of se­vere reprisals af­ter mili­tia killed a num­ber of sol­diers.

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