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.


Pakistan reopens airspace to civil aviation after India standoff

Updated 16 July 2019
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Pakistan reopens airspace to civil aviation after India standoff

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan opened its airspace to civil aviation on Tuesday, following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff with neighboring India.
“With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,” according to a so-called Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) published on the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority’s website.
The move by Pakistan, which lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor, offers a welcome break for international airlines after the airspace restrictions affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding to flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.
India’s ministry of civil aviation said that after the lifting of the NOTAMS, there were no further restrictions on airspace in either country.
“Flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief for airlines,” it said.
Pakistan closed its airspace in February after an attack by a Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-controlled Kashmir led to an armed standoff between the two nuclear-armed powers.
Both countries carried out aerial attacks over the other’s territory and warplanes fought a brief dogfight over the skies of the disputed Kashmir region during which an Indian fighter jet was shot down.
Partial operations at Pakistani airports resumed once the immediate crisis passed but restrictions continued to affect many international carriers using Pakistani airspace.
Pakistan’s announcement came hours after United Airlines Holdings Inc. said it was extending the suspension of its flights from the United States to Delhi and Mumbai in India until Oct. 26, citing continued restrictions of Pakistani airspace.