The UN refugee agency says the number of South Sudanese refugees registered in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo nearly doubled last month to reach about 54,000, as heavy fighting continues to ravage the world’s youngest nation.
Hundreds have been killed in South Sudan in battles that broke out in July between troops loyal to long-time rivals President Salva Kiir and former vice-president Riek Machar. Dozens more died in fighting last weekend.
South Sudan has now leapfrogged Burundi to become the third-largest source of refugees in Congo, after Rwanda and the Central African Republic. The vast central African nation hosts a total of nearly 430,000 refugees registered by the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR.
A UNHCR spokesman said it was unclear how much of the increase was accounted for by new arrivals as opposed to registration of existing refugees, but that the influx of South Sudanese fleeing the conflict was continuing.