Angola Points Out Difficulties in Refugees Return

Dundo — Defense Minister Salviano Cerqueira said on Friday in Dundo, Lunda Norte that the voluntary and spontaneous repatriation of 14,724 refugees to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was a "very complicated" task, in consideration the limited material and financial resources available.

The Cabinet minister, who was speaking at a meeting on voluntary and spontaneous repatriation, recalled that the Angolan state was taken by surprise, which made the process more complex, forcing the government to find solutions to prevent refugees from reaching Chissanda and Tchicolondo borders by foot.

He regretted the fact that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) did not join the Angolan Government during the repatriation.

At the time, UNHCR justified that it would not support the process without a tripartite meeting between the governments of Angola / DRC and Angola, which would set the dates for the start of the repatriation process.

The minister, who coordinates a multisectoral refugee assistance commission, reiterated that Angola will always be in solidarity with citizens who are in this condition, because respect for human rights is, and always will be, a priority.

During his stay in Dundo, Salviano Cerqueira will travel to the municipality of Lóvua to check the conditions of the nearly 9,000 refugees in the reception center.

Even today, the official is set to go to the border of Tchissanda, Cambulo municipality, to learn about the situation of the 14,724 refugees still held there, due to the lack of reception conditions by the Congolese authorities.

The total of DRC citizens at the time in Angola, in the province of Lunda Norte, in particular, reached 35,000, of which 23,686 were received in the Lóvua refugee camp, while the remaining 11,331 were distributed by the provincial communities.

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