LUSAKA (AFP) — The UN Thursday resumed the repatriation of 12,000 Congolese refugees from Zambia which was suspended three months ago due to insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Katanga province.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said 400 refugees from Zambia’s northern province would be shipped to Moba, a small town in Katanga in neighbouring DR Congo every day.
“Today’s resumption is a result of the progressive amelioration of the political and security situation in Moba, and the willingness expressed by the Congolese refugees to (return to their) country of origin,” UNHCR said in a statement released in Lusaka.
The process was suspended after violent riots in Moba.
According to the agency, the repatriation would probably be suspended again at the end of next month as heavy rains were expected to make roads in northern Zambia impassable.
Initially, 20,000 refugees were due to be repatriated this year but the figure was brought down to 12,000 following various constraints, UNHCR said.
Over 5,500 have left Zambia for the DRC this year, the statement said.
Zambia shelters around 114,000 refugees from various countries with Congolese constituting the majority with an estimated number of over 57,000 settled in various camps.