DR Congo + 1 more

Zambia to send 400 DRC refugees back home next month

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LUSAKA, Apr 20, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Zambia, with assistance from the United Nations refugees agency UNHCR and the World Food Program, is planning to send 400 refugees of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) currently living at Mwange refugee camp in the country's Northern province back to their own country next month.

Tamba Komba, an official with the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said on Friday during a consultative meeting the repatriation exercise would take place on May 4.

He thanked various stakeholders for their supports towards the repatriation of refugees in Zambia, saying the exercise had reached an advanced stage.

The Zambian government kicked off the voluntary repatriation of Angolan refugees in 2003, one year after the 27-year civil war ended in that country. Since then a total of 64,000 refugees have been sent back to their motherland.

The focus of the repatriation exercise has now shifted towards sending DRC refugees in Zambia back home.

It is estimated that Zambia is still home to about 150,000 refugees, including 29,000 Angolan refugees and 61,000 DRC refugees.