News24

Angolan refugees in dire need

2009-10-21 09:40

Geneva - Tens of thousands of Angolans recently expelled from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo are in dire need of food, shelter and other aid, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.

A UN mission over the weekend found nearly 30 000 people clustered around three overcrowded reception centres near the northern Angolan town of Mbanza Congo.

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said they included a "significant number" of recognised Angolan refugees who had been "forcibly returned" to their home country.

Cases of diarrhoea and vomiting were reported while people were drinking from nearby contaminated rivers, according to Andrej Mahecic of the UNHCR.

"Tens of thousands of Angolans recently expelled from the Democratic Republic of Congo are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in various sites around the town of Mbanza Congo," he said.

Angola started bringing home nearly 30 000 of its citizens across the border by bus last week after the two countries agreed to stop a wave of deportations.

In a crackdown dubbed Operation Clean Up, Angola targeted migrants mainly from DR Congo and Republic of Congo, the two nations that surround its oil-rich Cabinda enclave.

Kinshasa responded in kind by focusing on Angolan migrants.