URGENT supplies of family tents, blankets and more are being sent to Angola as refugees fleeing “brutal” conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) cross the border in their thousands.

More than 11,000 people are understood to have crossed into Angola, where trouble persists in some provinces after a bloody 27-year civil war, to escape fighting in the DRC.

Border points and villages inside the southern African nation have experienced a sharp spike in refugee arrivals as conflict intensifies in the DRC’s Kasai Province.

The bodies of two UN workers and their guide were found recently as the Kamwina Nsapu militia continues to battle security forces.

More than 400 are thought to have died since August, with another 200,000 displaced as the armed group tries to force state agents from the region.

Both sides are accused of human rights violations and Babar Baloch, of the UNHCR refugee agency, yesterday said more than 9,000 Congolese citizens have crossed into Angola so far this month. Some reported spending days hidden in the forest without food, shelter and clean water before making their escape.

Meanwhile, some youngsters are said to have been ordered out of the country by their parents for fear that they could be forcibly recruited by the Kamwina Nsapu, which is known to use child soldiers.

A UNHCR emergency team is expected to arrive in former mining town Dundo, the provincial capital of the Lunda Norte region, to address the needs of new arrivals.

Speaking in Geneva, Baloch said: “The new arrivals are terrified and still fear for their lives.

“UNHCR is in the process of shipping family tents, kitchens sets, blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and other essential relief items to the area.

“Angola’s wet season peaks in April and UNHCR is especially worried about the ongoing rains, which could further complicate living conditions and the health of refugees, especially the most vulnerable such as women, children, the elderly and the disabled.”