UN says thousands flee Congo violence, seek asylum in Uganda

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The United Nations refugee agency says about 7,500 Congolese refugees fleeing violence have arrived in Uganda since the beginning of June.

UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic in Geneva said Tuesday that people are fleeing from Congo at a rate of 311 a day, adding pressure on Uganda's already overstretched facilities.

The refugees are running away from clashes between two opposing ethnic groups — the Hema and Lendu — in parts of northeastern Congo.

Mahecic said in a statement that recent arrivals from Congo "speak of extreme brutality. Armed groups are said to be attacking villages, torching and looting houses, and killing men, women and children."

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The statement said most people are fleeing via Lake Albert from Ituri province, where an estimated 300,000 people have been displaced since early June.

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