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Refugee News                       September 1997
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Congo (Brazzaville): Thousands of new refugees 

Ongoing civil strife in the Republic of Congo (capital: Brazzaville)  has forced thousands to flee to the Democratic 
Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and resulted in the expulsion of a number of Rwandan refugees. 

The fighting, between forces loyal to President Pascal Lissouba and  former military ruler, Gen. Denis Sassou-Nguesso's militia, started on June 5 and has 
destroyed much of Brazzaville. 

Intense fighting towards the end of August has led to an 
increase in the number of people, as many as 2,000 daily,  crossing the Congo River into the Zairian capital, Kinshasa. 

According to briefing notes issued by the UNHCR on August 29,  11,300 people have already registered as refugees and are crammed at a newly opened camp at Kinkale, 30 km outside Kinshasa. 

The crisis has also hit some Rwandan refugees. About 2,000 of these are living in appalling condition at Bilolo camp 
about 25 km outside Brazzaville. They are the remainder of more than 5,000 Rwandans who had had volunteered to return to Rwanda before fighting broke out in Brazzaville on June 5 and stopped the planned repatriation.  

The UNHCR press release says that Rwandan refugees have become the target of harassment in Pointe Noire, a government-controlled city which  has been swollen with thousands of displaced people from Brazzaville. Of the 200 Rwandan refugees at a camp, some 120 men were expelled to Angola. 

Congo Republic conflict sparks new refugee exodus 

UNHCR - information on: 

Refugee News: More about Congo (Brazzaville)


Hong Kong: 400 'boat people' abandoned 

Vietnam is refusing to assume  responsibility for 400 'boat people' still living in  camps in Hong Kong. 

Vietnam, Hong Kong and the United Nations agreed in 
1995 that any Vietnamese who left after June 15 of 
that year would be considered illegal migrants and 
would be required to return to Vietnam. 

Vietnam has taken back some 68,000 boat people. The government is now insisting that these 400 should have been sent home before Britain handed its former colony back to China in July. 

UNHCR - information on: 
Hong Kong 


Refugee News: More about Vietnam


Italy: Deadline for Albanian refugees extended 

The Italian Interior Minister Giorgio Napolitano has told Parliament that his government will  allow Albanian refugees to stay beyond August 31 deadline for their repatriation following a plea from Albanian premier Fatos Nano. 

The Albanian authorities say they would be unable to cope if all 10,000 refugees presently  in Italy go back now. 

About 16,000 refugees arrived in Italy early this year following  a chaotic exodus from their poor country which went into virtual anarchy after the collapse of pyramid investment schemes. 
     About 6,000 arrivals had criminal records and  were sent back immediately. The rest were granted three-month  visas but many are unaccounted for, probably trying to 'settle' in Italy as illegal immigrants. 

Italy extends deadline for Albanian refugees 

UNHCR - information on: Albania 

Albania - CRISIS '97 News Centre 

Refugee News:  
More about Italy 

Refugee News:  
More about Albania

Tanzania: 'Stray' refugees to be rounded up 

The Tanzanian government is to start rounding up Burundian and  Zairian refugees living outside refugee camps. 

The authorities have blamed these refugees for increased crime in western Tanzania and intend the roundup to ba a first step towards repatriation. 

The number of stray refugees is not known but some 300,000 Hutu refugees from Burundi and 74,000 refugees from Zaire already live in camps. 

Tanzania has recently signed an agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and the U.N.H.C.R. to start repatriating Congolese refugees, who fled late last year at the beginning of the civil war there. 

Tanzania's New Congo Refugees Ready For Home 

Tanzania's president orders roundup of refugees 

Great Lakes Crisis (Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania) 

UNHCR - information on: 
Congo (Dem. Rep.) 

Refugee News: More on Tanzania