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Angola: Repatriation programme from Zambia extended

Briefing notes

Angola: Repatriation programme from Zambia extended

3 October 2003

We are expanding our voluntary repatriation programme for Angolan refugees to cover a second refugee camp in Zambia. On Saturday, the first convoy carrying 550 Angolan refugees will depart from Mayukwyukwa camp in western Zambia. The convoy of 11 buses and eight trucks will travel three days over 2,000 km to the eastern Angolan town of Cazambo in Moxico province.

Since mid-July, we have transported back to Angola 12,000 Angolan returnees from the eastern Zambia camp of Maheba. There have been a number of requests for assistance from refugees in Mayukwyukwa to return to Angola and hundreds have been setting out on their own. We are looking at ways of increasing the number of returns before the onset of the rainy season later this month.

More than 31,000 Angolan refugees have returned with UNHCR assistance to Angola. The number includes 16,500 returnees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 3,500 from Namibia. Before UNHCR launched its voluntary repatriation programme in June, an estimated 450,000 Angolan refugees were in Angola's neighbouring countries.