About 7000 people fleeing ethnic violence in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have crossed the border into neighbouring Congo Republic in the past 24 hours, state radio said.
A total 13 000 people have now taken refuge in north-eastern Congo-Brazzaville since fighting erupted last week in the village of Dongo in Equateur province in DRC, a United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson in Kinshasha told Reuters.
At least 47 policemen were killed last Friday as they intervened in a dispute among two tribes fighting over farming and fishing rights. The violence is not related to fighting in Congo’s east between government troops and Rwandan rebels.
“Several villages have been burned and dozens of people killed as a result of these clashes,” one of the refugees told the Congo-Brazzaville official news agency.
The UNHCR has a joint humanitarian support mission with the government of Congo-Brazzaville to assist those displaced by the conflict.
DR Congo hosts the UN’s largest peacekeeping mission, with over 18 000 soldiers, but 90 percent of the force is based in Congo’s eastern regions and there were no peacekeepers in the north when the violence took place.