Thousands of Angolans set to lose their refugee statusListen /
Over 120,000 Angolans living in neighbouring countries are to be stripped of their refugee status and sent back home, according to the UN Refugee agency UNHCR.
The Angolans will lose their refugee status on 30th June this year, based on recommendations that fundamental improvements had taken place in the country to warrant their return.
The refugees are part of nearly 600,000 Angolans who fled into the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and other southern African countries at the height of the country's war of independence between 1965 and 1975.
Adrian Edwards from UNHCR says the agency is scaling up assistance to those wishing to return to Angola.
"As of June 2nd some 13,700 Angolans had gone back with our help including over 11,000 from Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some 35,000 more have asked for help in getting back before the end of the month. Since mid-May, we have doubled the size of repatriation convoys from DR Congo. Currently 1,200 people are being returned weekly. We have ramped up efforts to promote voluntary repatriation of Angolans from other African countries. Namibia re-launched return convoys last month, with over 3,000 refugees having registered to repatriate. Returns from Zambia are being done by air. In Botswana, efforts to help refugees are underway."