Conditions worsen for Angolan refugees in Dem. Rep. of Congo

(Agenzia Fides) – More than 20,000 Angolans living in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been forced to return to Angola and have been living in tents, with very little food and medical assistance. The humanitarian situation is deteriorating due to the rains that have been falling on the villages of Mbanza Congo and Kuimba, in the Province of Zaire.

The Bishops’ Commission for Pastoral Care of Migrants, the Justice and Peace Commission, Caritas Angola, and Jesuit Refugee Service, have published a statement, signed by Archbishop Zacarias Kamwenho, President of the Bishops’ Commission for Immigration, Justice and Peace and Archbishop Emeritus of Luanda, in which they deplore “the events that have involved the immigrants of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola. Violence solves nothing. Let us not be overcome by hate, revenge, discrimination, but rather by sentiments of fraternal love and solidarity, which constitute the family, society, the Church.”

In an interview with “Radio Ecclesia,” Fr. Andre Justino Futy of the Diocese of Mbanza-Congo, has relaunched an alarm on the disastrous situation in which the returned refugees are living. “Over 20,000 people are in urgent need of assistance and food.”

“The constant rain in recent days has finally stopped. Thank God it is no longer raining, because if it would have continued raining with the same intensity, the situation would have become even more complicated,” the priest added.

Fr. Futy, however, says that “the intense rain can start back up again at any moment, but the main problem is that not all of them have a shelter. The tents available are not enough for all the families taking refuge here.”

For weeks now, relations between Angola and the DRC have been tense due to mutual expulsions of citizens from the two countries. The real question has to do with the repartition of oil resources in a common area in the Atlantic Ocean.

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