Thousands flee election tension

BRAZZAVILLE, 6 December 2011 (IRIN) - At least 3,500 people have arrived by boat in recent days in Congo’s capital, fearing violence in the run-up to the announcement, due before midnight on 6 December, of the outcome of the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to an official.
Yves Ikiaye, a captain in Congo’s immigration service, said those crossing the Congo River, which separates Brazzaville from the DRC capital, Kinshasa, between 4 and 6 December included politicians and their families, diplomats and UN officials.
“We came here to escape war,” said Dorcas Mukaku, a schoolgirl, who arrived with her two younger sisters.
“The Lubas [one of DRC’s ethnic groups] said that if Etienne Tshisekedi was not elected they would set Kinshasa on fire and shed blood,” she told IRIN.
Others, “who support President Joseph Kabila [who is running for re-election], said it had to be him or no-one”, she said.
“I decided to leave my parents and studies behind to observe the situation from afar and save my life. I am too young and have nothing to do with what’s going on,” she said.
However, Congo’s Interior Minister, Raymond Mboulou, said: “We are not in a crisis situation,” adding that it was normal for people from Kinshasa to travel to Brazzaville.
Brazzaville’s chief of police, Général Benoît Moundélé-Ngollo, said a special camp would be set up if the numbers arriving increased significantly.
Theme (s): Children, Conflict, Early Warning, Governance, Refugees/IDPs,
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]