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Congo: Angolan convoy to leave for Cabinda

Briefing notes

Congo: Angolan convoy to leave for Cabinda

21 August 2001

A repatriation convoy carrying over 600 Angolan refugees was this morning scheduled to leave the Republic of Congo port town of Pointe Noire for the enclave of Cabinda, an oil-rich piece of Angolan territory separated from the rest of the country by a strip of Congolese territory. This is the second return convoy to Cabinda in ten days.

The majority of those returning home in today's convoy have been living in Pointe Noire for the last eight years. Nearly 100 refugees were last night expected to arrive in the port city from refugee camps, some 120 km away, to join the convoy scheduled to take the returnees to a transit centre in Cacongo, some 46 km north of Cabinda town. UNHCR had hired 20 minibuses and several trucks to ferry the refugees to Cabinda, some 120 km away. Because of poor road conditions inside Angola, the journey will likely take three hours.

In addition to a reintegration package from UNHCR, the government of Angola has allocated half a hectare of arable land for each returnee family, and will also distribute construction materials to enable each family to put up a house. There are still more than 12,000 Angolan refugees from Cabinda in Pointe Noire alone, and probably over 30,000 in the Bas-Congo Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.