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.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions