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Angolan refugees in the DRC

Briefing notes

Angolan refugees in the DRC

16 February 1999

UNHCR is approaching authorities today in the port city of Matadi, south-west of Kinshasa on the border with Angola, in order to plan for a site for recently arrived Angolan refugees. An estimated 12,000 Angolans fled the area of M'banza Congo, in Angola's Zaire province, at the beginning of the month when UNITA overran government forces.

In contrast to the majority of the near 150,000 Angolan refugees in the DRC, the 8,000 new arrivals in Songololo and 4,000 in the town of Kimpese have not been able to find shelter with the local population. If a camp is established for the refugees, the group would be moved further from the border, which is only about 20 km from Songololo.

UNHCR staff will be travelling again tomorrow to the sites in Bas Congo to determine if any refugees are returning on their own to Angola. Several unconfirmed reports indicate that government forces may have retaken the town of M'banza Congo.

There are approximately 300,000 Angolan refugees in the neighbouring countries of the DRC, the Republic of Congo, Namibia and Zambia. Most are settled along the borders with their country. UNHCR provides direct assistance to 40,000 in the DRC, 12,000 in the Congo, 2,500 in Namibia and 34,000 in Zambia.