UN refugee agency begins overland return operation from Zambia to DR Congo

UN refugee agency begins overland return operation from Zambia to DR Congo

Congolese returnees arrive in Moba from Zambia
The United Nations refugee agency has expanded its repatriation operation to the town of Moba in south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by launching road returns this week from Zambia.

The United Nations refugee agency has expanded its repatriation operation to the town of Moba in south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by launching road returns this week from Zambia.

A convoy carrying 357 Congolese who had been living in Kala and Mwange camps in northern Zambia arrived in Moba, on the western shores of Lake Tanganyika, last night after two days on the round, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today.

This was the first land convoy to Moba organized by UNHCR and follows a series of boat convoys across Lake Tanganyika that were suspended last year when UN aid workers were evacuated from the town because of an attack on local UN offices.

UNHCR briefly resumed ferry returns last December before the rainy season set in and the first boat returns of the year began last week, with 1,200 Congolese returning from Mpulungu in Zambia.

At least 64,000 Congolese fled to Zambia during the DRC’s brutal civil war that ended in 2003 and so far UNHCR’s voluntary repatriation scheme has allowed about 9,000 refugees to return.