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DR Congo: government to allow Angolan influx

Briefing notes

DR Congo: government to allow Angolan influx

3 November 2000

The Congolese (DRC) authorities have told UNHCR an estimated 18,000 Angolans fleeing intensified fighting in Angola's Lunda Norte province will be allowed to cross into Kahemba in the DRC. Kahemba already hosts 10,000 Angolans who had fled during earlier stages of the conflict. Some refugees are reported to have crossed in the past few days, but there are no firm estimates on numbers. The rest of the group has been waiting for several days on the Angolan side of the border, waiting to cross. Local officials told UNHCR they would help in disarming possible members of the UNITA rebel movement who may be present among the refugees.

There are also reports of more Angolans fleeing to the DRC in a separate area, some 250 km west of Kahemba. That area already hosts 10,000 Angolans. Local village chiefs speak of 10,000 new arrivals there. If confirmed, the influx would increase the number of Angolan refugees in the DRC's southern Bandundu province to close to 50,000.

UNHCR is trying to bring relief supplies to the area, braving fuel shortages and huge logistical difficulties. Two large trucks with supplies are already on their way to Kahemba and three more will be sent by the end of this week. The DRC already hosts 170,000 Angolan refugees. If the new influx continues, the figure will quickly exceed 200,000.