UNHCR repatriates Angolan refugees from Republic of Congo

According to Kris Janowski, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the majority of those returning home in today’s convoy from the port town of Pointe Noire had been living there for the last eight years. Nearly 100 refugees were expected to arrive last night from refugee camps to join the convoy, which was scheduled to take the returnees to a transit centre north of Cabinda.In addition to a reintegration package from UNHCR, the Government of Angola has allocated half a hectare of arable land for each returnee family, and will also distribute construction materials to enable each family to put up a house, Mr Janowski said.There are still more than 12,000 Angolan refugees from Cabinda in Pointe Noire alone, and probably over 30,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) province of Bas-Congo, where UNHCR was preparing to move 10,000 recent arrivals away from the border.The refugees had fled a rebel offensive on 3 August in northern Angola, Mr. Janowski said. Nearly 2,000 of them were now at a DRC town called Kimvula, while more than 8,000 were in an area known as Kitompolo, four kilometres from the border. UNHCR has deployed emergency teams to the border to help with registration, the distribution of basic supplies and to make arrangements for the transfer of the refugees away from border areas.

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