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Zambia: Over 1,800 Congolese flee to Zambia within a week


LUSAKA,  Zambia, September 9 (Infosplusgabon) - The number of Congolese asylum-seekers that have fled to Zambia from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the past one week has now gone over 1,800.


According to Government authorities here, over 1, 832 Congolese asylum-seekers crossed the border between Wednesday 30 August and 6 September 2017 through Chiengi’s Kamponge and surrounding border entry points in the District, situated north of Zambia.


From January to 29 August this year, a total of 2, 646 DRC asylum seekers are said to have crossed the border, bringing the total number of Congolese new arrivals between 1 January and 6 September 2017 to 4, 478.


A statement issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lusaka Friday, said while most of the new arrivals have presented themselves to authorities and UNHCR, others have temporarily settled within the host community, where they have close family links, but are being moved from the villages to a temporarily holding facility, pending relocation.


UNHCR disclosed that some 1,080 new arrivals are at a temporary holding centre at Ponda Secondary School on the outskirts of Chiengi.


“The Government and UNHCR have Friday started moving the Congolese to Nchelenge Transit Centre, further in-land, for on-ward relocation to Meheba Refugee Settlement, in North Western Zambia, 1, 300 km away, where all new arrivals in Zambia are being settled,” the UNHCR statement said.


According to the new arrivals, generalised insecurity, characterized by clashes between Congolese and different militias around the towns of Pweto and Moba, has led to them fleeing to Zambia to seek asylum.


As of 31 July 2017, the total population of Congolese in Zambia (asylum-seekers and refugees) was 25,467.


Zambia currently hosts some 59,195 refugees and others of concern, mostly from Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Uganda. The vast majority reside in two refugee settlements – Mayukwayukwa in Western Province and Meheba in North Western Province, while others live in urban areas or are self-settled in various parts of the country.




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