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Angola: Major repatriation launched

Briefing notes

Angola: Major repatriation launched

20 June 2003

UNHCR launches this morning a major repatriation of an estimated 150,000 Angolan refugees living mainly in camps in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The return will take place in several phases over the next two years, eventually bringing home one-third of Angolans driven from their country by nearly three decades of civil war.

Two convoys carrying an estimated 500 refugees are expected to depart from three camps in the DRC. The first convoy will be flagged off from the Bas Congo Province, south of the DRC capital, Kinshasa carrying some 250-300 refugees from Kilueka and Nkondo camps. This convoy will take returnees to the northern Angola town of Mbanza Congo, a three to four hour drive.

The second convoy will leave from Tshimbumbulu camp near Kisenge in the southern DRC province of Katanga and will proceed to Luau in the eastern Angola province of Moxico.

Transit centres with a capacity for up to 800 refugees have been established in Mbanza Congo and Luau. Returnees will spend the first few days at these centres before proceeding to their areas of origin. Reintegration packages consisting of basic domestic supplies such as blankets, jerry cans, mats and kitchen sets, and a three-month food supply will be distributed to returnees at the centres.

In early July, repatriation is also scheduled to begin from Namibia to the towns of Caindo and Menongue in the southern province of Cuando Cubango, and from Zambia to Cazombo in Moxico province.

Since May 2002, an estimated 100,000 Angolan refugees have already returned home on their own, mainly to the provinces of Uige, Zaire, Moxico and Cuando Cubango.