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Kinshasa to Hold Discussions With Bujumbura Over Refugees


Kinshasa to Hold Discussions With Bujumbura Over Refugees

Kinshasa to Hold Discussions With Bujumbura Over Refugees

A ministerial delegation from the Democratic Republic of Congo is scheduled to leave Kinshasa to Burundi Friday as Bujumbura repatriates over 2,000 Congolese.

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The delegation will hold discussions with its Burundian counterpart as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees about the repatriation.

Burundi began repatriating about 2,300 Tutsi Congolese after they fled rebel attacks in the restive Kivu provinces in 2004.

The refugees opted to return to Congo after refusing to be transferred to a Burundian camp over security concerns.

Lambert Mende, Congo's information minister said that his government is ready to accept the returning refugees and re-integrate them into society.

"A ministerial delegation has been appointed and it will leave today for Bujumbura to handle discussions with our counterpart of the Burundi government and as far as UNHCR is concerned we have started from yesterday discussing with their representative here in Kinshasa," Mende said.

He said Kinshasa welcomes the refugees with open arms.

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"Our position is that any Congolese who is willing to come back to his country must be welcomed in our country. But as far as these refugees in Burundi are concerned, we were informed that they are willing to come back," he said.

Mende said the government is still looking for a secured accommodation for the refugees.

"We have started discussing the site where they will be accommodated because the place they are coming from around… is concerned by the military operation against the Rwandese rebels the Hutu rebels from Rwanda. That is why the government is busy to find a place where they can be secured," Mende said.

He said the Congolese national army will protect the returning refugees.

"It is what we are working for because they (refugees) are from a place where the army is busy trapping these rebels from Rwanda…so we need some days to work to secure another place waiting so that the area will be totally secured by our army," he said.

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Mende said the government will continue to uphold its responsibilities.

"This is the program for this government to secure the country and help our brothers and sisters who went abroad or internally displaced to go back to the place they originated from," Mende said.

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He said Kinshasa needs at least two days to ensure security for the refugees before implementing the re-integration process.

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