(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

UNHCR to begin registering willing Angolans

The UN's refugee agency, UNHCR in Botswana will begin registering Angolan refugees willing to return home this week, a senior official of the UN's refugee agency told IRIN on Tuesday.

"Two Angolan refugee leaders returned from a go-and-see mission to Lumbala N'guimbo [in the eastern province of Moxico] and [the city of] Huambo [in the central province of Huambo] last week, which is why we are proceeding with the registration this week," said Benny Otim, head of the UNHCR in Botswana, where about 1,200 Angolan refugees are living in Dukwe camp in the northeast of the country.

The tripartite repatriation agreement between Angola, Botswana and the UNHCR was signed earlier this year. "We have been waiting to sort out technical issues and the results of the go-and-see mission, which will encourage the Angolans to register," Otim said.

Around 441,000 Angolan refugees were living in neighbouring countries until 2002, when a peace accord was signed between the government and UNITA rebels. Since then 218,000 Angolans have returned home, either on their own or with the assistance of UNHCR repatriation operations.

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