Kinshasa — THOUSANDS of Congolese in Angola are returning home where fighting among armed groups has lessened and security conditions have improved.
They are going back to the Kasai region where conflict had uprooted them since 2016.
In total, more than 4 000 refugees are expected to be assisted to return home in the coming weeks.
Already, 12 000 Congolese refugees, including nearly 7 000 children, have spontaneously returned home from the Lovua settlement in Angola's Lunda Norte province.
Charlie Yaxley, the spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said despite conflicts easing, many of those returning spontaneously were facing extremely challenging living conditions.
"Although fighting amongst armed groups has calmed, some refugees are still uncertain about the condition in which they will find their homes," Yaxley said.
The envoy said some were unwilling to return to their homes and were moving elsewhere, as they feared a return of inter-ethnic violence.
Public infrastructure such as schools and health centres badly damaged during multiple periods of fighting and are yet to be repaired.
"Existing facilities lack the capacity to meet all of the needs of returnees," Yaxley said.
Kasai is one of the most volatile regions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
UNHCR needs US$150 million (R2,27 billion) needed to help people affected by the DRC crises. It has secured over half of the needed funds.