NCHELENGE district commissioner Joseph Chisakula says 181 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have entered the country following renewed fighting between Mai Mai insurgents and government forces.
Mr Chisakula said in an interview from Nchelenge yesterday that the 181 refugees will soon be repatriated to Meheba refugee camp in North-Western Province.
He said out of the 181 refugees, 151 are on Kilwa Island and that a team of officials from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has travelled there to ferry them to the mainland in readiness for their further transportation to Solwezi.
“In total, we have 181 refugees from the DRC, they entered the country last week. They have been on Kilwa Island since last week, seven others are already at Mweru Lodge waiting for their colleagues to arrive,” Mr Chisakula said.
He said the refugees are likely to be transported to North-Western Province today.
Mr Chisakula said Government is happy that UNHCR is in Luapula Province to look into the welfare of the refugees.
He thanked the residents of Kilwa and Chisenga Islands for welcoming and accommodating the refugees.
“We would like to commend our brothers and sisters at Kilwa and Chisenga islands for their continued support when it comes to taking care of the refugees. This is not the first time they are doing this,” Mr Chisakula said.
“We are also happy that the team from UNHCR is in the province to look into the welfare of the refugees, we know it is their job but it is important to thank the people,” he said.
Mr Chisakula said Luapula Province has continued recording an influx of refugees from the DRC following renewed fighting between the government forces and Mai-Mai rebels.