More than 300 Angolan refugees repatriated from DR Congo
Publisher: Xinhua News Agency
Story date: 20/11/2011
Language: English

KINSHASA, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) – More than 300 Angolan refugees returned to their home country on Friday from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

Up to 162 Angolan refugees out of a total of 3,000 who have been living in Katanga province in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) returned to their country of origin.

UNHCR spokesperson in DR Congo Celine Smith said, "These refugees, who were part of the first convoy in this province, were accompanied by some members of the UNHCR/DR Congo up to the Dilolo border point where they were supposed to be received by their UNHCR/Angola counterparts and some officials of Angola's Ministry for Integration and Social Assistance," she affirmed.

Meanwhile, Smith said 180 Angolan refugees left DR Congo on Friday through Kivuvu border post in Bas-Congo province in the southeast of DR Congo.

This was the fourth convoy of refugees leaving this province since the start of this operation on Nov. 4.

The resumption of the operation to repatriate Angolan refugees was decided upon during a DR Congo-UNHCR-Angola tripartite meeting that was held in the Angolan capital Luanda on Oct. 24-25.

Smith revealed that 58,000 Angolans were repatriated from DR Congo with the help of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) between 2001 and 2008.

Currently, she said, there are 80,000 Angolan refugees still living in DR Congo and out of this figure, 43,000 have expressed the desire to return to their country of origin.

About 20,000 Angolan refugees have already requested the UNHCR to repatriate them to their country.

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