10,000 Angolans living in Zambia want to return home

Tuesday May 15 2018

Angolan President Joao Lourenco. AFP

Angolan President Joao Lourenco during his first press briefing to mark 100 days in office at the Presidential Palace in Luanda on January 8, 2017. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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About 10,000 out of the more than 20,000 Angolan nationals living in Zambia have expressed their desire to voluntarily return home, the media confirmed.

According to the state-run Jornal de Angola newspaper, more than 15,000 Angolan refugees were currently living at reception camps in Mayuca Yuca in western Mongo Province and in Mayeba in Solwezi north-western province.

The others were spread in many places including the major towns.

The Jornal de Angola, however, said many of the Angolan nationals could not return home now for lack of documents.

“The Zambian government has started a reintegration process for the Angolan nationals refugees,” the Jornal de Angola quoted Mr Cabral Laureano, the head of the consular sector in the Angolan embassy in Zambia.

Visa requirements

The process, said Mr Laureano, includes the distribution of pieces of land to the qualified refugees.

"The idea is to have them leave the refugee centres,” he was further quoted saying.

The refugee statute for Angolan nationals in Zambia ended in 2013.

Earlier this month, Angola and Zambia agreed to waive visa requirements for their citizens traveling between the two countries as part of the several agreements to boost bilateral ties and economies.

Angolan President João Lourenço, who was in Zambia for a two-day state visit, and his counterpart Edgar Lungu, witnessed the signing of the bilateral agreements.

Zambia has recently smoothed its relations with her western neighbour after they were rattled under the Fredrick Chiluba regime over his controversial support for Jonas Savimbi.

Dr Savimbi was the founding leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), which fought a 27-year civil war with the Angolan government. Unita is now the main opposition party in Angola.

The controversial but charismatic leader was killed in battle against the ruling MPLA government forces on February 22, 2002 in Lucusse region.

His death paved the way for a peace deal that would bring an end to one of Africa's longest and bloodiest civil conflicts, which erupted after independence from Portugal in 1975.

The war left at least half a million people dead and some four million civilians displaced in the oil-rich nation.