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Population movements along the Congolese border

Briefing notes

Population movements along the Congolese border

20 August 1999

There have been new movements of fighters along the border between the northern Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to local officials and UNHCR staff in the area.

During the past few weeks groups of Congolese and Rwandan armed men have passed through Loukolela, in Congo-Brazzaville. No security incidents have occurred at the camp in Loukolela, set up in 1997, where UNHCR is still caring for approximately 2,600 Rwandan refugees. UNHCR has informed Congolese authorities that these recent arrivals are not of concern to UNHCR.

UNHCR will this week carry out a second mission farther north to Impfondo, to determine if civilians have also crossed over from DRC's Equateur province. An assessment two weeks ago turned up no civilian arrivals.

At the same time, several dozen Rwandan women were registered this week by UNHCR in the DRC town of Mbandaka. They say that they returned to the DRC from Congo-Brazzaville after their husbands left the group, presumably to join the fighting.

There are still between five and seven thousand Rwandans in Congo-Brazzaville. UNHCR was last week able to reunite five of them with their parents or families in Rwanda. The five, unaccompanied children as young as four years of age, were flown to Kigali from Brazzaville.