OVER 2,000 CONGOLESE FLED TO WESTERN TANZANIA OVER PAST WEEK: OFFICIAL

DAR ES SALAAM, More than 2,000 Congolese have fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Tanzania's western region of Kigoma seeking asylum for past one week, a senior government official said on Saturday.

Emmanuel Maganga, the Kigoma regional commissioner, told Xinhua on the telephone that 800 of the asylum seekers were received on Friday and Saturday at the region's port town of Kibirizi.

"Most of the fleeing Congolese claim that they are running away from political upheavals in the eastern part of the country," said Maganga, adding that 1,600 of them were received at Manyovu, Kigage and Nyarugusu areas in the region.

"The situation is appalling as hundreds of the Congolese are flocking into the region using boats that ply along Lake Tanganyika," said the official.

He said the Kigoma region defence and security committee was assessing the new arrivals to establish whether they qualified to be given the asylum status.

He said after the assessment by the regional defence and security committee the asylum seekers will undergo a second scrutiny by the National Eligibility Committee that will determine whether they qualified to gain the refugees status.

Maganga said the National Eligibility Committee comprised of members from the Immigration Department and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

"At the moment, the UN refugees' agency and other aid agencies are providing relief supplies to the arriving Congolese, including women and children," said Maganga.

He said those who will meet "the refugee status" will be sent to the Nyarugusu refugee camp.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK