UNHCR completes return of Central African refugees; closes DR Congo camp
ZONGO, Democratic Republic of the Congo, June 17 (UNHCR) - Some 2,700 Central African refugees have gone home from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the last week, paving the way for the UN refugee agency to close its camp in north-eastern DRC.
On Monday, UNHCR completed the repatriation of the Central African refugees in Mole camp, Equateur province (north-eastern DRC), when the last group of residents took a short boat ride across the Oubangui river to Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.
UNHCR has since closed the two-year-old Mole camp and is working with its local non-governmental organisation partner to restore the environment in and around the camp. This involves cleaning the camp, closing the pit latrines and planting more trees. The local population will receive school, health and other facilities that are left in the camp.
The return movement to the Central African Republic started last Monday and was expected to last eight days. But the response was more enthusiastic than expected, such that the operation was completed in a week.
Many of the returnees are former civil servants and residents of Bangui who had fled following a failed coup in the Central African Republic in May 2001. They decided to return home with the change of government in Bangui in March this year and a recent amnesty to those linked with the 2001 coup.