UNHCR preparing transfer of 24,000 refugees in Democratic Republic of the Congo
GENEVA, 9 Oct. (UNHCR) - In an effort to maintain the required civilian character of its refugee camps, UNHCR said Tuesday it was preparing to transfer more than 24,000 civilian refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) to a different site within the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The transfer is to take place once the UN peacekeeping mission in Democratic Congo (MONUC) relocates some 2,500 former CAR soldiers and their families from their current site in the riverside town of Zongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Bokilio, about 120 kilometres inland.
The operation is aimed at separating the soldiers from the civilian CAR refugees, who fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in the Central African Republic in May.
Once the soldiers are relocated, UNHCR said it would begin transferring the civilian refugees from the north-western border areas to a site at Mole, more than 80 kilometres from the border between the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Local authorities in Zongo began to register the former soldiers and their families and are preparing passenger manifests for the transfer. UNHCR has agreed to assist the local authorities by preparing the new site and providing one-time food assistance and other supplies.
At the same time, UNHCR is proceeding with preparations at the Mole site. The relocation of the civilian refugees will begin as soon as the former soldiers have been transferred, UNHCR said.