August 22, 2007

Violence sent thousands abroad

10,000 Congolese refugees have crossed the border into Uganda in the last two days, fleeing violence in their villages. They fled after a demonstration by villagers protesting the failure of U.N. peacekeepers to improve security in their remote southeastern Congolese territory.

Large-scale influxes of Congolese refugees into Uganda are not unusual. The mineral-rich eastern part of Congo, bordering Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, remains the most unstable area of the country. Fighting among rival militias, including groups from neighboring countries, regularly breaks out and often results in civilian casualties. Uganda occupied part of the region during a 1998-2002 war in Congo that drew in military forces from six neighboring countries.

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