DR Congo: 2,000 new Angolans found around Kimvula
A joint UNHCR/WFP team which visited areas close to Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) southern border with Angola last week found nearly 2,000 new Angolan refugees scattered across several villages around the Congolese town of Kimvula. Some of those fleeing suffered gunshot wounds as fighting between UNITA rebels and the Angolan army engulfed their villages. The refugees are now living among the local population in DRC's southern Bas-Congo province. They are sharing the scarce resources available in town, which is hard to access because of bad roads.
Because of difficult road conditions the team was unable to verify reports of another 1,800 refugees further to the west in the town of Popokabaka. Several thousand more were reported in the town of Kasongo-Lunda in Bandundu Province. Refugees located by the team say they were driven out of their homes in Angola's Uige Province by clashes in early February between UNITA and the Angolan army. The attacks were in the areas around the Angolan towns of Maquelo do Zombo and Cuango.
The UNHCR team visited the local hospital and found six refugees with bullet wounds. One boy, hit twice, will be operated on and another woman will have to have a foot amputated. UNHCR organised the transfer and surgery of the wounded refugees and gave the local hospital food and blankets. UNHCR also provided a medical kit with medicine for 1,000 people for three months.
The refugees say they will not return to Angola without assurances of safety from the Angolan government. UNHCR is considering moving the refugees away from the border area. UNHCR helps 110,000 out of the estimated 177,000 Angolan refugees in the DRC.