Refugees Flood Uganda

One of the areas I visited while researching Heart of Diamonds was Ishasha in Uganda, which is located about five km (three miles) south of Lake Albert on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. That region is today overrun by refugees from the clashes between Laurent Nkunda’s rebel forces and militias backed by the Congolese army.

abandoned hut in Ishasha

“There was an influx of 2,000 people who crossed into Ishasha last evening (Tuesday),” said Roberta Russo, the spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)in Uganda.

Most of the Congolese in Ishasha wanted to be transported to the Nakivale, a large refugee camp in Uganda’s Mbarara district, she added. We traveled through that region, too, just a little over a year ago.

The latest influx brought the total number of refugee arrivals in Uganda since the ceasefire in Congo broke down to more than 14,500. They are part of the estimated 250,000 civilians displaced by the fighting since August.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

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One Response to Refugees Flood Uganda

  1. The web site, http://www.arrestNKUNDAnow.org , provides information about war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by troups under Nkunda ‘s command since 2002 . The website is also launching a petition calling on concerned people around the world to demand that MONUC immediately arrest Nkunda for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The U.N.’s biggest peacekeeping mission will soon be over 20,000 in Congo “must ensure that those responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws are brought to justice” said Mr. Kyubwa.

    Nkunda is accused of multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity of which most cases are well documented by various human right organzations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In September 2005, the Congolese government issued an arrest warrant for Nkunda, accusing him of numerous war crimes and crimes against human rights. Human Rights Watch, for example, which has been calling for his arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity since February 2006 has documented summary executions, torture and rape committed by soldiers under the command of Nkunda in Bukavu in 2004 and in Kisangani in 2002. Also armed groups loyal to warlord Nkunda have been repeatedly accused of using rape as a weapon of war and the recruitment of child soldiers, some as young as 12 after the abduction from their homes.

    According to Mr. Kyubwa, NKunda continues to be involved in the committing of crimes in DRC, and in particular in the province of North Kivu, where again groups armed acting under his command are reportedly responsible for killing civilian systematically in the town of Kiwanja. The continuing horrific killing of civilians testifies that Human Rights Watch was absolutely reasonable in its warning then in 2006 and it’s today. “So long as Nkunda is at large, the civilian population remains at grave risk”

    The website http://www.arrestNKUNDAnow.org encourages concerned people around the world to sign a petition to demand that MONUC immediately arrest Nkunda for war crimes and crimes against humanity. For more information please call the project coordinator in the United States , Amede Kyubwa at (916) 753 5717 or email: arrestkundanow@hotmail.com

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