DRC: 40 000+ Angolan refugees to go home
Kinshasa - More than 43 000 Angolan refugees living in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be voluntarily repatriated starting next month, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR announced on Wednesday.
Of about 80 000 Angolan refugees in the DRC, "43 085 have expressed their desire to immediately return to their country of origin", said Mohamed Boukry, UNHCR representative in Kinshasa.
The repatriation should start on July 04 and wrap up early next year.
Many Angolans fled their country after the outbreak of civil war in 1975 between government forces and Unita rebels led by Jonas Savimbi, assassinated in February 2002.
The refugee population is concentrated in the southern Bas-Congo province and Katanga in the southeast, as well as the capital Kinshasa.
Congolese Interior Minister Adolphe Lumanu, who attended a meeting Wednesday with UN and Angolan officials, said his government will continue to host any Angolans who wish to remain in the country.
The DR Congo is home to about 162,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, while more than 400 000 of its own citizens are refugees, mainly in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).