Zambia has continued to receive Asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), despite the change of government in that country.
Zambia’s Commissioner for Refugees Abdon Mawere, disclosed that the country has continued receiving about 200 refugees per month from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and others that include Burundi and Somalia.
Mr Mawere said it was expected that the inflow of refugees from the DRC will reduce or come to a halt after the election, adding that the situation is however different.
He disclosed that currently, about 40 asylum seekers were stationed at the border in the northern region of Zambia, awaiting to be taken to Meheba Refugee Settlement in Kalumbila District in North-western Province.
The Commissioner for Refugees disclosed that the total number of persons of concern and refugees has risen from over 81,000 to 83,692 as at August 2019.
Mr Mawere has also confirmed that some refugees have indicated to the authority regarding their intention to be repatriated back to the DRC following the seemingly return of peace in that country.
He added that 43 Congolese Refugees have indicated to the commission for refugees that they are willing to return to their country of origin, while other asylum seekers have spontaneously returned.
He revealed that officers under his department are currently assessing the situation at Mantapala resettlement, in order to establish the number of refugees who are willing to return.
He stressed that government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees will engage the Congolese government in a tripartite mechanism, to repatriate refugees, should they establish that a large number is willing to return back home.
He further cautioned refugees willing to return to their countries of origin, to engage the authorities, and avoid returning spontaneously which he said is a risk for them.