The number of Congolese refugees seeking asylum in Zambia has doubled in the last three months of 2019, despite that country holding an election which ushered in a new government.
Commissioner for Refugees Abdon Mawere has disclosed that the number of asylum seekers entering the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the last three months has continued to rise.
Mr Mawere said the country is now receiving Congolese asylum seekers totalling to 200 per month from the usual average of 100 per month which the country used to receive after the elections in the DRC.
He stated that the number of asylum seekers from the DRC started dwindling at the beginning of 2019 after the elections in that country, which he said is not the case now as the numbers have begun to swell.
He said the commission is concerned with the increasing number, noting that they need to take care of the new arrivals besides those who are already in the settlements.
He added the new arrivals of refugees are being taken to Meheba in North-western Province where over 20,000 refugees from the DRC and other countries are currently hosted.
The Commissioner further noted that the asylum seekers are coming from the North East of the DRC, a region that is still experiencing sporadic fighting between militias.
He said the asylum seekers are arriving through Mpulungu and Nsumbu in the northern region of the country, where they are kept in transit centres before being transported to Meheba in the North-western part of Zambia.
He stated that the current trend of refugee arrival is likely to continue going on in 2020 which calls for the preparation of resources, in order to take care of the basic needs of more arrivals from the DRC.
Zambia is currently hosting over 84,000 refugees, former refugees and persons of concern, most of whom are from the DRC.