Refugees start entering Chiengi from DRC

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REFUGEES from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have started entering Chiengi in Luapula Province following renewed fighting between Mai Mai insurgents and government forces in Pweto.

Chiengi district commissioner Joseph Chisakula said in an interview on Friday that six refugees entered Zambia on Thursday morning through Lunchinda border in Chiengi.
Mr Chisakula said the refugees are accommodated at the Chiengi district administration offices.
“Six refugees, who are members of the same family, entered Chiengi from Pweto in DRC, after fleeing fighting between government forces and the Mai Mai rebels. They entered the country on Thursday around 08:00 hours and we are keeping them at the district administration offices,” Mr Chisakula said.
He said a 39-year-old woman led her children and relatives into Zambia after her husband was brutally murdered while the rest of her family was in the bush looking for food.
“The family was ambushed by the Mai Mai rebels. The rebels murdered the woman’s husband while the family was looking for food in the bush.
The other members of the family managed to escape and spent some days at Mbabula town before they found themselves in Zambia,” Mr Chisakula said.
He added: “The family is ready to be moved to Maheba Refugee Camp in North-Western Province. Members of the family are terrified and they have refused to return to DRC because of the war and the manner in which their breadwinner was murdered.”
Mr Chisakula said the presence of refugees at the district administration offices has not affected Government operations.
He advised Chiengi residents to remain calm.
“We are appealing to our people to remain calm as there is no need for panic. They must go on with their normal daily activities,” Mr Chisakula said.
He said Government has put in place adequate security measures to ensure that the refugees do not move around the country.
“We addressed them and we told them not to go anywhere in the district for security reasons,” Mr Chisakula said.

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