Kinshasa (AFP) – Thousands of people fleeing troubled Central African Republic have streamed into DR Congo following an outbreak of sectarian violence in the border city of Bangassou, the UN’s refugee agency said Tuesday.
A UNHCR statement which described the flow as “massive” said at least 2,750 people arrived during the weekend in northern Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The flow continued in some areas early this week,” the statement added.
A UN peacekeeper was killed at the weekend, the sixth in a week, in an attack in Bangassou by the mainly Christian anti-Balaka group from CAR.
The UN mission in that country, MINUSCA, said the assailants were members of a wide coalition including the anti-Balaka group who “attacked civilian populations, targeting in particular Muslims”.
The UN has deployed 10,000 troops and 2,000 police to CAR following bloody sectarian fighting that erupted after the 2013 overthrow of leader Francois Bozize.
Among Africa’s poorest countries, CAR subsequently descended into bloodshed pitting the anti-Balaka fighters against the mainly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels.
“The refugees who arrive are in bad condition with few personal belongings” and many are hurt, UNHCR said.
The UN agency said that DR Congo, which is also rife with violence, as of end March was hosting 103,000 Central African refugees.