RUBAVU COUNTY, Rwanda -- Like most of those seeking refuge at the Nkamira Transit Center, Queen Maombi has a harrowing tale of escape from her native Democratic Republic of Congo.
Maombi, 34, is one of nearly 9,000 Congolese that have overwhelmed this temporary camp since April, when a fresh wave of violence hit eastern Congo’s long restive North Kivu province. Like Maombi, nearly all of the new arrivals are Congolese by birth but ethnically Rwandan -- a distinction that effectively branded them enemies of the state following a mutiny against the Congolese army by soldiers loyal to Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, a Rwandaphone Congolese of Tutsi descent.
Accused of aiding the mutineers, Maombi fled her home in the fertile Masisi district when soldiers from the FARDC, the Congolese armed forces, descended on her village and threatened to rape and kill her. After a night spent hiding in a bean field, she traveled on foot for two days to the Rwandan border. Her 14-year-old daughter Sanifa was not as lucky.