Returning Congolese refugees defy conflict, disease

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From Pedro Agosto in Luanda, Angola


Luanda - More than 800 refugees from the Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC) have returned home from Angola despite the conflicts and
diseases affecting their country.
The refugees are defying the challenges that include terror by rebel
groups as well as outbreaks of Ebola, cholera and measles.
They are pinning their hopes on the situation improving under the new
government of President Felix Tshisekedi.
There has also been a decrease in the skirmishes in the Kasai region
which the Congolese initially fled.
The latest convoy carrying the refugees left the Lovua settlement in
Angola in the direction of Nachiri in the Kasai at the end of last week.
Some 300 refugees, including 181 children, were part of the convoy.
Refugees were carried in five trucks while their luggage was transported
in four trucks.
A total of 844 Congolese refugees have been repatriated from Angola this
year.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) intends to
conclude the repatriation exercise by the end of November.
UNHCR is transporting the refugees in collaboration with humanitarian
partners.
Most of the returning refugees had fled their country at the height of
the Kasai crisis in 2016.
The killing of a tribal leader by the Congolese army triggered the
crisis.

Meanwhile, at least six health care workers and patients
have been killed and 70 injured during attacks by militants in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since the beginning of the year.

More than 300 attacks have been perpetrated.

The latest casualty has been confirmed in the Lwemba region of the Ituri
Province in the northeast.

The violence on Sunday night caused the death of an Ebola response
community health worker and left his spouse critically injured with
multiple wounds.

The victim was also a reporter for a community radio station in Lwemba.

He was involved in raising the awareness of his community regarding the
country’s tenth Ebola outbreak, which began over a year ago and is
impacting the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu.

The motives behind the attack are still unclear but two suspects have
already been apprehended

The inter-ministerial technical secretariat of the response to the Ebola
outbreak, the Ministry of Health and United Nations (UN) agencies
condemned the murder.

“Any act of violence against individuals involved with the response is
unacceptable and compromises the ability of health workers to provide
assistance to communities impacted by the devastating effects of Ebola,”
said a government spokesperson.

More than 2 000 people have so far died from the latest outbreak of
Ebola in DRC.

The death toll is the second worst in history after the crisis in West
Africa that claimed over 11 000 lives between 2013 and 2016.

– CAJ News

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