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Congolese refugees arriving in Tanzania

Briefing notes

Congolese refugees arriving in Tanzania

22 January 1999

UNHCR staff in Kigoma report that 225 refugees have arrived so far this morning by boat from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the office expects to collect another 700 new arrivals today from other villages along the Tanzanian lakeshore.

Refugees from the town of Fizi are arriving in leaky boats with their belongings. They say that they fear new fighting between rebel forces and Mai-Mai warriors, who've told civilians that there will be new clashes in the area.

These alarming figures come on the heels of 1,301 arrivals yesterday, and 2,058 between Monday and Wednesday of this week. The total number of Congolese refugees who have fled the country since the war broke out on 2 August now stands at 26,199.

UNHCR and Caritas are using three boats to collect new arrivals from the Tanzanian side of Lake Tanganyika. Refugees are transported daily to a camp at Lugufu from a transit centre in Kigoma.

Tanzania currently hosts 358,000 refugees: 65,000 Congolese refugees, 280,000 refugees from Burundi and some 13,000 Rwandese.