Angola + 1 more

Some Angolans reluctant to return home

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By Olekantse Sennamose

TUTUME - There are indications that most Angolan refugees at the Dukwi Refugee Camp still harbour fears related to returning to their home country.

In a meeting addressed by the Angolan Minister of Social Assistance and Reintegration, Mr Joao Kussumua at the camp on Saturday, it was revealed that only 29 refugees out of a total of 506 had indicated their desire to return home.

One of the refugees, Mr Thihara Faustinos said they were aware that some of their compatriots who opted to return home were not assisted in anyway by the Angolan government to enable them to settle down, saying that was one of the reasons why he was reluctant to return.

Asked what form of assistance those who return would require, he said the government should assist the returnees with basics such as building material and some money.

Mr Faustinos, who revealed that he left his home country 10 years ago, also said the Mukusu region from which he originated was underdeveloped as it had no basic amenities such as schools which would make life intolerable for their school going children.

Mr Jamba Jamba said some of his compatriots were keen to return home but said most of them were apprehensive due to the situation relating to the past and were not sure if the situation had really changed to the better

He also thanked the UNHCR, the Botswana Red Cross Society and the Dukwi police, saying the services they provided to the refugees were valuable.

A refugee, Mr Moses Quintas indicated that he was willing to go back home.

"I may not get another chance, so I want to take this opportunity to thank the government of Botswana for its hospitality and protection during our stay here," he said.

Mr Kussumua assured those who wanted to return that they would be given about P600 each to help them settle to their new life conditions.

Mr Kussumua also said the purpose of the meeting was to interact with the Angolan refugee community and get to know their feelings about the issue of returning.

The director of ministry management in the Ministry of Justice, Defence and Security, Mr Ross Sanoto reiterated that Botswana and Angola enjoyed good relations, which was why it was easy for the Angolan minister to visit the refugees at the camp.

BOPA