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More refugees flee to Congo

Internally displaced women seeks refuge from the ongoing violence in the swamps of Unity state, cooking her last supply of sorghum. © FAO South Sudan

A humanitarian awareness team in the Democratic Republic of Congo says more than 15,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived there since the clashes in Juba in July.

It says they are mainly children, women, and older people from Juba, Morobu, and Yei in the Central Equatoria region.

The awareness team, ACAP, which is operating in Congo, says the refugees fleeing into the country are settled in the territories of Faradge and Aru, close to the border with South Sudan.

According to the team, this brings to 27,000, the number of South Sudanese refugees in the DRC.

In a statement, the ACAP team says Faradge and Aru have been experiencing influxes of the refugees since October 2015.

It says the new arrivals, especially in Ituri, have received little humanitarian assistance because there is lack of food, shelter, and medicine in the settlement there.

The ACAP team says that the situation is not stable because refugees are reportedly crossing back in search of food despite the food crisis in South Sudan.

It says many women and girls arriving in DRC have reported sexual assault during their journey. The ACAP team also warns that refugees are at risk of attacks by armed groups in DRC.

For instance, it says, refugees near the city of Doruma, in Haut-Uele province, were attacked, their food rations stolen, and a health centre was looted, in September.

The awareness team also says suspected LRA militia attacked a South Sudanese refugee camp on the 6th September in Masombo in Dungu territory, in Haut-Uele.