Bunagana, DR Congo – Following three years of relative peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu province, conflict has returned, forcing people out of their homes once more. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had not registered a single refugee in Rwanda since early 2009. But since April 27 of this year, more than 8,000 people have fled to the burgeoning Nkamira transit camp just over the border in Rwanda.
The Congolese army has been engaged in battles with mutinous soldiers, former members of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), a rebel group that had been incorporated into the army in March 2009. The group’s leader at that time – Bosco Ntaganda, who had been indicted by the International Criminal Court – was promoted to general in the army and was seen as an important figurehead for peace in the region.
More than 40,000 people are now displaced, including more than 8,000 in Rwanda and an estimated 10,000 in Uganda, following heavy fighting in the border town of Bunagana on the Congolese-Ugandan border.
As the conflict ebbs and flows around North Kivu, some return home as others are displaced, all living beside a strong military presence.