DR Congo refugees head home to Kasai region from Angola: UN

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-23 21:01:35|Editor: xuxin
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GENEVA, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Around 8,500 refugees have left Angola's Lunda Norte province to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the past week in apparent response to reports of better security in their places of origin, the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR revealed on Friday.

"This appears to be a response to reports of improved security in some of their places of origin and anxiety to return home in time for the beginning of the academic year," UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said a UN briefing here.

He noted that the refugee departures reported from Aug. 18 were "spontaneous" with more than a thousand having already crossed into DRC. Many others were moving toward the border with DRC's Kasai region from the Lovua settlement in Angola.

Kasai province is recovering from deadly clashes between armed groups and DRC forces in 2017 that displaced some 1.4 million people from their homes.

Around 37,000 refugees from the violence crossed into Angola which hosts more than 60,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, primarily from DRC.

"This week's spontaneous returns from northeastern Angola are linked with presidential elections and follow recent discussions between the visiting DRC officials and refugees, where refugees were briefed about improvements to the security situation in Kasai Provinces," said Mahecic.

DRC voters went to the polls on Dec. 30, 2018, to choose a new president.