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DRC refugee influx

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A huge influx of refugees, fleeing instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has arrived in Bulawayo this week in transit to their final destination, South Africa.

Our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme said haulage truckers, driving from the DRC to South Africa were making brisk business in the movement of the refugees.

There has been heightened tension in the DRC since last year’s November polls, won by President Joseph Kabila, were so marred by irregularities that international observers described them as not credible.

‘The refugees are saying tensions are still high in the vast minerals-rich central African country following its second post-war vote, marred by deadly violence, disorganisation and allegations of fraud. They are worried the situation can easily escalate into another civil war,’ Saungweme said.

Most of the refugees who arrived in the country’s second largest city were being housed at a church in one of the city’s oldest suburbs, Makokoba. The local community has been helping with blankets, food and clothes.

‘Initially when they came in they were first taken to Amakhosi Theatre centre where they paid for the accommodation. So they were moved to a church in Makokoba where its free.

‘About 80 of them were at the church this week but hundreds more are using the city as a transit point. Those who have decided to settle in Zimbabwe are reportedly being taken to Tongogara refugee camp to be screened,’ Saungweme said.