DRC refugees keep streaming into Kenani

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ongo DRC refugees at Kenani camp transit centre in the Nchelenge
ongo DRC refugees at Kenani camp transit centre in the
Nchelenge

Government says refuges from the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC) have continued to trek into the country and have
surpassed the 6,000 mark of refugees currently camped at Kenani
Refugee Transit Centre in Nchelenge district of Luapula
province.

Minister Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo disclosed that
over 200 refugees mostly women and children have arrived in the
country from the neighbouring DRC.

ZANIS reports that Mr. Kampyongo who addressed journalists in
Lusaka today described the situation in ‘war-torn’ DRC as
unpredictable in the DRC.

He said the number of asylum seekers from DRC camped at Kenani
was 5,800 refugees but that they have since exceeded 6,000 due
to continued new arrivals.
The Minister however, assured that government has deployed
Immigration Officers and a number of military and health
personnel who are screening the refugees.

He also disclosed that a new land has been secured in Nchelenge
district, to accommodate the influx of Congolese nationals
fleeing from political instability in their country.

Mr Kampyongo commended international humanitarian organization
such as the Zambia Red Cross and the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees for supplementing government efforts
to address the plight of DRC asylum seekers.

He warned Zambians at the border town of Nchelenge against
harbouring the refugees as they risked being prosecuted.

On 31st October this year, President Edgar Lungu travelled to
Nchelenge district to assess the situation at the Kenani
Refugee Transit Centre in order to mobilise international
support from humanitarian agencies to address the refugee
crisis.

And Angolan refugees from Meheba refugee camp yesterday came
together to commemorate their country’s 42nd Independence Day
celebrations.

The pre independence celebrations were held at the United
Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) guest house
situated right in the camp, under the theme: “United for a
Democratic, One and Indivisible Angola”.

Angolan Consul General, Alberto Antonio, who graced the
occasion, assured the gathering that his government is going to
do everything possible to help lessen the problems Angolans are
facing in Meheba refugee camp.

Mr Antonio told ZANIS in an interview in Kalumbila that his
office will embark on massive registration of Angolan refugees
following the discovery that most of the refugees do not have
identification documents.

He said the consular registration will enable the refugees
obtain Angolan documents such as national identification cards
and passports.

Mr Antonio said resources are being put together to ensure that
the registration exercise kicks off at the end of November..

He further explained that the documentation will help the
refugees to be more proactive and be able to travel freely in
Zambia even as they get integrated into the Zambian society.

Mr Antonio thanked the Zambian government for managing a
resettlement scheme under the local integration programme aimed
at promoting sustainable resettlement in Zambia .

He said the initiative is a welcome move because for so many
years Zambians and Angolans have lived together peacefully.

Meanwhile, Boniface Chingenge an Angolan refugee who has been
living in Zambia since 1969 said the independence celebrations
have brought the Angolans together to remember their country.

“We are very thankful that our father the Consul has come to
celebrate with us and we are very thankful to the Zambian
government for receiving us when we were children until now
when we have grown with children and grandchildren,” he said.

Mr Chingenge narrated to ZANIS that his father died in the war
in Angola and that prompted him and his mother to leave for
Zambia.

He said upon his arrival in Zambia at Mayukwayukwa refugee camp
his mother also died and left him all by himself.

Mr Chingenge said as a grown man he still has the fear of
returning to his country because all his life he has observed
how his fellow Angolans were flocking into Zambia fleeing from
conflicts in Angola.

He said that his mind is now at peace as the Consul has clearly
explained and assured Angolans that the country (Angola) is now
peaceful.

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