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Wed, 09 Oct 2019 19:01 - Updated Wed, 09 Oct 2019 19:00

UNHCR starts repatriation to DRC

Dundo - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began Wednesday the voluntary and organized repatriation of the approximately 5,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), based in Lóvua camp, Lunda Norte, since May 2017.

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Return of DRC refugees

Photo: Assis Kituta

The departure of the first group, a total of 221, was witnessed by the Secretary of State for Social Action, Lúcio do Amaral, and the deputy governor for the Social, Political and Economic sector of Lunda Norte, Deolinda Vilarinho.

For the process, which should last two months, 11 trucks are available, five for the transport of people and six for cargo, in addition to special vehicles for pregnant women, the elderly, children and people with disabilities.

An ambulance with medicines and health technicians, as well as a considerable number of National Police personnel, ensures medical assistance and security for refugees on their way to the Nachiry border.

According to UNHCR's interim representative in Angola, Wellington Carneiro, two transit centers were set up along the border for refugees to rest and later to be transported to their DRC home areas.

UNHCR provides about US $ 120 and 20,000 Congolese francs for each refugee's socio-economic reintegration.

In voluntary and spontaneous repatriation, 14,724 returned to the DRC. Of this number, 3,772 are men, 7,974 children and 2 998 women, out of 18,800.

Voluntary repatriation began on 19 August when a group of refugees unilaterally decided to return to their country of origin.

The total number of DRC citizens at the time in Angola, in Lunda Norte province, in particular, reached 35,000. Of these, 23,686 were received at the Lóvua refugee camp, while the remaining 11,331 were distributed to the provincial communities.

The migration of these citizens stemmed from widespread violence caused by political and ethnic tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in May 2017.

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