DRC: transfer of Angolan refugees away from border begins
UNHCR began this morning the transfer of nearly 10,000 Angolan refugees from border areas south of the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, Kinshasa, to existing villages 50 km away from the frontier. Because of poor road conditions in the area, a first group of 600 refugees is scheduled to depart on foot this morning for the villages of Zulu and Zomfi. They will stop briefly, later today, at a rest station set up by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) 17 km away and are scheduled to spend the night at a transit centre more than 30 km from the border. The refugees are expected to make their way tomorrow morning to the villages of settlement where each family is expected to receive half a hectare of land.
The plan is to move an average of 600 refugees daily. Vulnerable refugees such as young children, the sick, the handicapped and the elderly will be transported by truck. The transfer is expected to be completed by 5 or 6 September.
A total of eight villages have been prepared for the more than 10,000 new Angolan refugees currently at two locations along the DRC border - nearly 8,000 in Kidompolo and another 2,000 in Kimvula, 120 km east of Kidompolo. The refugees fled an August 3 UNITA offensive on the town of Beu in northern Angola and have been living in makeshift shelters in difficult conditions for the past two to three weeks.