UN winding up repatriation operations for Angolans and some Somalis

The United Nations refugee agency is winding down its repatriation of Angolans with a final convoy from the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today and it is also sending home the last convoy from eastern Ethiopia to north-western Somalia tomorrow.The Angolan refugees left the Kisenge refugee site in southern DRC to Luau in eastern Angola, from which the refugees will go home, with help from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to communities in Moxico and Lunda Sul provinces.UNHCR has helped 42,400 Angolans go home since the start of the voluntary repatriation in June 2003 and has helped nearly 24,000 refugees who returned to Angola on their own.Some 22,000 Angolans remain in refugee camps and settlements in the DRC and another 72,000 may seek permission from Congolese authorities to settle there, it said.The Angolan repatriation movement ends in October.Meanwhile, the 325 Somalis in the 213th convoy leaving Aisha camp in Ethiopia for the self-declared Republic of Somaliland will carry plastic sheeting, blankets, jerry cans, kerosene stoves and a nine-month supply of food.UNHCR will spend $50,000 on cleaning and replanting Aisha camp, which was the largest refugee-hosting area in 1991 when it housed 26,694 people during one of the peaks of Somali refugee flight, and will then hand it over to the Ethiopian authorities.Last July UNHCR closed Ethiopia’s Hartisheik camp, which was the world’s largest refugee camp in the late 1980s when it housed 250,000 Somalis.