UN refugee agency starts helping Congolese return from Mozambique
The United Nations refugee agency has announced the start of its airlift of Congolese refugees from Mozambique, pledging to help all those who want to go back.
Over 100 people headed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) this week by air from the north of Mozambique via Kigoma in Tanzania, where they were scheduled to embark on a ship crossing Lake Tanganyika to their homeland, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which said talks are underway to facilitate direct flights to DRC for about 170 additional Congolese seeking to return home.
“I am overjoyed that the registered refugees are finally able to return,” said UNHCR Representative in Mozambique Victoria Akyeampong. “I hope this movement will encourage others in the camp to also register for voluntary repatriation. DRC needs her people to rebuild its economy and society.”
The repatriation was organized by UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with the cooperation of the various governments involved.
The Congolese comprise about 3,500 out of the total refugee camp population of some 5,000 in Mozambique. Most of the refugees are from Africa’s Great Lakes region, according to UNHCR, which said in a news release that its office in Mozambique “will continue to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of refugees wishing to return to their countries.”