Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) held an emergency meeting in Luanda on Thursday over the repatriation of Congolese refugees.
Last Sunday, at least 8,000 refugees, out of the overall 23,600 located in Lovua locality of the north-eastern Lunda Norte Province, abruptly walked towards Angola’s border with DRC.
The decision of the Congolese refugees to leave the Lovua refugees field goes against the recommendations issued by UNHCR, which expected to conduct an organized repatriation process in September.
Angola’s Minister of Social Action, Families Promotion of Women Faustina Fernandes Alves on Monday called for good sense from the UNHCR in the repatriation of the DRC refugees, without the imposition of rules over such an issue that is of humanitarian emergency.
The official urged UNHCR to adopt immediate measures to aid the Angolan government to facilitate the repatriation process to preserve human lives, in particular those of children, women and aged people.
Angola sought to negotiate with the remaining refugees to dissuade them from returning to the DRC without the creation of logistical condition for their relocation, but to no avail.
An overall 1,066 refugees have already abandoned the camp on tracks made available by Angola.
Mutombo Kabanga, a DRC refugee seeking to return home, said the decision to abandon Lovua refugee field was unanimously decided in April by all of the people accommodated in the camp, due to the need for their children to attend school.
Angola says it has provided transport, water, medical assistance and food for refugees leaving the country.
The DRC citizens fled to Angola following violence caused by ethnic and political tensions that hit the DRC in 2017. Enditem