UN begins repatriating Namibian refugees from Botswana

UN begins repatriating Namibian refugees from Botswana

Four years after clashes in Namibia drove hundreds of people to Botswana, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has begun a repatriation effort targeting those who now want to return home, a spokesman for the agency announced today.

The first group of over 250 people left Botswana on Monday, spokesman Kris Janowski told reporters in Geneva. The next group is scheduled to be taken home on Wednesday.

Of the nearly 2,000 Namibians who fled since the 1998 clashes between government forces and separatist rebels, more than 850 have signed up for the repatriation, according to the spokesman, who predicted that this was only the beginning. "UNHCR expects more people to sign up for the return once those going back now have arrived in their homes," he said.