What you need to know:
- According to the UNHCR renewed violent clashes between armed groups and government forces have sparked the latest emergency, with 300,000 people forced to flee their homes in North Kivu Province in February alone.
Kigoma. A total of 2,643 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have arrived in Kigoma seeking protection from ongoing unrest in the northern region of Kivu.
According to the UNHCR renewed violent clashes between armed groups and government forces have sparked the latest emergency, with 300,000 people forced to flee their homes in North Kivu Province in February alone.
The Congolese nationals began entering Tanzania through the Kigoma region, on March 5, while others entered between September 2022 and January 2023 and sought refuge in the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp and its surrounding areas.
According to the Regional Coordinator, Department of Refugee Services, Nashon Makundi, who spoke to the media on March 15, 2023, most of the people did not have the right information about how to apply for asylum in the country, while many thought that the country had closed its borders to refugees.
He said that on March 10, 2023, the number of refugees who entered Tanzania were between 300 and 600 people, and by March 14, they had received a total of 2,643 people.
The Director of Refugees Services Department, Sudi Mwakibasi, said that Tanzania signed the African Union Agreement in 1969, which deals with refugee issues that are specific to African countries.
But also, Tanzania as a country has the Refugee Act of 1998 which gives them the authority to implement it while the process of receiving, identifying, and registering asylum seekers continues.
Most of the refugees, according to him, are women and children and that the process of receiving and registering them is ongoing for 24 hours, to ensure that they are all identified and registered in the camp.
For his part, Kigoma region commissioner, Thobias Andengenye has asked the residents to follow the law that prohibits them from receiving people who enter the country without crossing the legal borders.
Some of the refugees said that what forced them to flee their country was the increase of attacks by M23, who are clashing with the government forces, which has so far caused several of civilians in the areas of North Kivu and South Kivu.
An asylum seeker from the city of Goma, Jack Shindano said that he fled from the rebel group M23 which forced him to join the group, and after he refused, they killed his wife and his child.