Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- Some 8,000 Congolese refugees have crossed into Burundi, fleeing violent clashes between different militias fighting for the control of eastern DR Congo, official sources at reception centres said.
Over 3,000 refugees are currently gathered in the open under a scorching sun in Gatumba, 5 km from the Congolese border and 12 km west of Bujumbura, the Burundi capital.
The refugees in Gatumba came from the Congolese town of Uvira, just across the border from Bujumbura.
Uvira fell Sunday into the hands of the Mai Mai militiamen, close to the Kinshasa regime, after having chased the main rebel movement of the Congolese Rally for Democracy.
The Burundi office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has distributed water and energy biscuits to the people, mainly made up of women, children and old people.
Less fortunate are the Congolese refugees who massively arrived Monday in the province of Cibitoke, further north-west of Burundi, also bordering eastern DRC.
Cibitoke governor Benoit Ntigurigwa said Tuesday that he was still looking for the UNHCR authorities to come to the rescue of some 5,000 Congolese refugees in his area.
Heavy fighting is reportedly taking place in the Congolese localities of Luvungi, Bwegera and Lubelizi on the border with the Burundian province of Cibitoke, Ntigurigwa said, adding that a new influx of refugees could not be ruled out.
The refugees need water, food, drugs and shelters as well as toilets most, Ntigurigwa said.