April 15, 2002

Agreement to repatriate refugees from Botswana

About 2,400 refugees in Botswana could soon return to their homes in Namibia's Caprivi region. An agreement between the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Namibia and Botswana on 11 April paved the way for all the refugees to be voluntarily repatriated, UNHCR spokesperson David Nthengwe told IRIN. He said many of the refugees had been at the Dukwe refugee camp, northeast of Gaborone, since 1998, when they fled instability caused by secessionist violence. While some refugees have returned to Namibia in the past two years, Ntengwe said an earlier repatriation programme was suspended in August 1999, during an upsurge of violence in the area. He said last week's agreement had created a commission to implement the repatriation programme. (IRIN)

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