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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Erupting Volcano Unlikely To Threaten Zaire Refugees

KIGALI, Rwanda -- The sky glowed red over the east Zairean town of Goma on Sunday night as lava flowed from a volcano close to abandoned refugee camps.


The Nyamulagira volcano, part of a chain of volcanos around Goma, exploded on Sunday, spewing ash hundreds of meters into the air and sending lava cascading through a nearby forest.


"It put on quite a show last night, and it was visible against the clouds from Goma. We doubt there is any damage to population," said Paul Stromberg, regional spokesman for the UN refugee agency UNHCR.


The volcano, 40 kilometers north of Goma, lies close to the Katale and Kahindo camps, deserted by Rwandan Hutu refugees in November because of fighting between the Zairean army and ethnic Tutsi Zairean rebels.


UNHCR said it did not expect to receive large numbers of Rwandan Hutu refugees returning home through Goma on Monday after a column of around 30,000 refugees walking from Minova failed to arrive at Sake, east Zaire.


"We have to suspect that there were security incidents and the group fled into the hills," Stromberg said.


A UN team that gained access to Numbi on Sunday also failed to locate the refugees, now thought to have fled to the west.


A Canadian-led multinational force to help the hundreds of thousands of refugees missing in eastern Zaire said it was deploying more troops to its headquarters at Entebbe in Uganda.