|December 7, 2001
Angolan refugees into Zambia
Nearly 1.000 Angolan refugees crossed into neighbouring Zambia since the
beginning of December, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) said. From December 1, we have received about 984 Angolan
refugees, Kelvin Shimo, UNHCR spokesman in Zambia said. The UNHCR
official did not explain why such a large number of Angolans were arriving,
although tens of thousands have over the years fled to Zambia to escape renewed
fighting between government forces and internationally-isolated UNITA-rebels.
Shimo said the refugees were being transported to the Nangweshi refugee
camp, situated about 150 kilometres inside the border. Shimo said Nangweshi
camp had reached its maximum capacity and could not take in any more refugees,
however. The UNHCR and the Zambian government are planning to set up another
camp once suitable land is found. Angolans account for 203.000 of a total
261.000 refugees housed in Zambia.
Meanwhile, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said his war-torn
country was getting closer to peace. He said his government's military and
political efforts and cooperation with the United Nations had accelerated
the advent of peace. The adverse factors, the forces that for some
time were creating obstacles to a normal life, now have less capacity to do
so, he said. They are in decline.
Dos Santos said many parts of Angola were enjoying greater peace than
they were two or three years ago and showing signs of progress such as
construction and more traffic. He rejected the possibility of autonomy for the
oil-rich enclave of Cabinda, where some rebel groups are seeking independence.
We define Angola as a unitary state, he said. (NAMIBIAN)