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Zambia: UNHCR stands ready

Briefing notes

Zambia: UNHCR stands ready

23 March 2004

UNHCR has heard reports from the government of Zambia that some 1,000 Congolese have crossed into Zambia since March 18, reportedly as a result of fighting involving Mai-Mai rebel elements in south-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. According to sketchy information, about 300 of the Congolese have sought shelter on Kilwa Island in Lake Mweru on the DRC-Zambia border. The other 700 are reportedly in mainland Zambia. In accordance with normal practice, government security, administrative and border authorities are presently involved in screening these groups to determine whether they are genuine asylum seekers. UNHCR Lusaka and our field staff in Kawambwa are in contact with government counterparts and stand ready to move those of concern to UNHCR to Kala camp, a site for Congolese refugees in northern Zambia.