UN concerned over expulsion of Congolese refugees from Angola

Wednesday March 7 2018

Congolese refugees

Congolese refugees, with their belongings, cross the border to Uganda in Nteko on January 24, 2018. The UNHCR has expressed concern over the repatriation of 530 Congolese refugees from Angola. PHOTO | AFP 

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Wednesday expressed concern over the repatriation of 530 DR Congolese refugees from Angola.

According to UNHCR, the refugees were handed to DRC authorities close to the border between February 25-27 .

About 480 of the victims used to live at the Reception Centre in Cacanda in Lunda Norte Province, while the 52 others were in Dundo city.

Identification wristbands

The UNHCR head for external relations in Angola, Ms Margarida Loureiro, told the UN News Radio that the 480 refugees were waiting to be registered.

“Despite the fact that they were not registered they had identification wristbands from the UNHCR with serial numbers,” she was quoted as saying Wednesday.

Ms Loureiro was further quoted saying UNHCR had already contacted Angolan authorities over the repatriation.

“The answer we had is that some of the refugees were not biometrically registered. Angolan authorities did not consider them refugees but illegal migrants,” she said.

UNHCR official Aikaterini Kitidi on Tuesday expressed concerns over the DRC refugees in Kasai region, close to the Angolan border.

According to the UN, the instability in the DRC has generated 900,000 refugees since 2016.

Security forces

Close 35,000 DRC refugees were in Angola's Lunda-Norte Province and about 25,000 of them received monthly food aid, the UN adds.

The situation in the vast DRC remains delicate with President Joseph Kabila refusing to vacate office at the end of his second and final five-year term in 2016.

Protest against his continued stay in office are often countered with full brutality by the security forces.