CONGO: Number of South Sudanese Refugees Doubles, says UNHCR

BRAZZAVILLE OCTOBER 21, 2016 (CISA) – The number of South Sudanese refugees registered in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo nearly doubled in September to reach about 54,000, UN refugee agency UNHCR said on October 20.

South Sudan has now surpassed Burundi to become the third-largest source of refugees in Congo, after Rwanda and Central African Republic, reported Reuters.

Congo hosts a total of nearly 430,000 refugees registered by UNHCR. The number of registered refugees from South Sudan increased from 27,250 at the end of August to 53,974 at the end of September, UNHCR said in a report.

According to the UN, hundreds have been killed in South Sudan in fighting that broke out in July between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and former vice-president Riek Machar.

A UNHCR spokesman said it was unclear how much of the increase was accounted for by new arrivals as opposed to registration of existing refugees, but that the influx of South Sudanese fleeing the conflict was continuing.

The arrival of so many South Sudanese has stirred opposition from some local activists in eastern Congo, where the influx of rebel fighters from volatile neighbors is a sensitive topic.

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