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Congolese expelled from Angola threaten Angolan refugees in DR of Congo

Congolese expelled from Angola threaten Angolan refugees in DR of Congo

Congolese workers recently expelled from Angola, penniless and at minimum notice, have attacked Angolan refugees being sheltered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and cared for by United Nations agencies, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today.

UNHCR has appealed for urgent humanitarian aid, especially food and water, for the displaced Congolese, some of whom were not born in the DRC and had never visited the country. The agency has also provided two trucks to take some of the workers home to Kikwit in Bandundu province and Tshikapa in Kasai province.

When UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin visited 1,500 Angolan refugees at the Napassa refugee site in Bandundu province on Tuesday, her vehicle was shaken and banged on, the agency said. The assailants were a group of Congolese "expellees" caught up in an Angolan sweep of diamond mines, conducted since December, to find and deport illegal workers.

On Tuesday night the expellees burned down two houses belonging to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Napassa, UNHCR said. Two refugee shelters were burned down and extensive looting took place in nearby Kahemba town.

"Apparently the returning Congolese vented their frustrations on the Angolan refugees in the DRC, who they saw as being privileged for receiving assistance from UNHCR and its partner organizations," it said.

The Congolese expellees have reported that they were brutally set upon by Angolan civilians.