7,000 flee DR Congo fighting for Burundi in just three days

A Congolese girl waits after she crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo with her family to be refugees at Nteko village in western Uganda in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 26 January 2018
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7,000 flee DR Congo fighting for Burundi in just three days

BUKAVU: Laden with mattresses, suitcases, solar panels, chairs and plastic buckets, thousands of refugees have crossed into Burundi in the past three days to flee fierce fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi police said Friday.
Nearly 7,000 Congolese have crossed Lake Tanganyika and taken refuge in Burundi since Wednesday as clashes raged between DR Congo government forces and rebels in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu.
“Yesterday, Lake Tanganyika seemed to be completely covered by hundreds of boats of all sizes, packed with refugees and their property, it was quite sight,” one rights activist told AFP.
Burundi police said a total of 6,692 people had registered as refugees since Wednesday to escape fighting between the army and the Yakutumba militia, although the flow appeared to have since slowed.
President Joseph Kabila, speaking at a rare press conference, described the security situation in the east, much of which is in the hands of rival militias, as “worrying.”
A refugee who crossed into Burundi described “very difficult living conditions” there, adding: “There has been no food or water for the vast majority of us, we don’t have any toilets.”
There was no immediate comment from the UN refugee agency or the Burundian authorities about the situation.
The DR Congo government last week announced it was waging “war” against two militias in the east — the Yakutumba and the Ugandan Islamist rebels of the Allied Democratic Force (ADF).
The ADF are active in North Kivu while the Congolese Yakutumba are several hundreds of kilometers away in South Kivu. Both regions border Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.
Rival militia groups have long held sway over large areas in the two provinces, often competing for their rich mineral resources.


Three Ethiopian students killed in ethnic clashes: government

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has received international praise for his reformist agenda. (Reuters)
Updated 8 min 21 sec ago
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Three Ethiopian students killed in ethnic clashes: government

ADDIS ABABA: Three Ethiopian students were killed and 34 injured after a fight on a campus escalated into deadly ethnic clashes in the west of the Horn of Africa country, the government said on Wednesday.
The unrest broke out on Tuesday after a fight at Assoa University erupted into wider violence between groups of students, Minister of Science and Higher Education Hirut Woldemariam said, quoted by Fana Broadcasting Corporate, which is close to the state.
While Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has received international praise for his reformist agenda, a wave of intercommunal violence — mostly over land issues — has marred the first few months of his rule.
The minister did not give details about how the three students died or say to which ethnic groups they belonged. But activists on social media said fighting was between students from the country’s two main ethnic groups, Oromo and Amhara.
“The unrest degenerated into deadly clashes because of the interference of forces intent on causing chaos,” the minister said without giving any further details.
She said scores of people suspected of being involved in the clashes were arrested and university officials, local elders and student organizations were trying to ease tensions.
Ethiopia’s higher education institutions have been a center of dissent since the 1960s and helped overthrow the last Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I in 1974. Universities are often the site of ethnic, political and religious clashes.
Last month, at least 44 people were killed in fighting between rival ethnic groups in western Ethiopia when youths armed with rocks and knives forced thousands of people to flee their homes until security forces were deployed to calm the area.