UN successfully repatriates 2700 refugees to Central African Republic

Successfully completing the repatriation programme in record time, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) closed its two-year old Mole refugee camp yesterday when the last group of Central African refugees left for the 10-minute boat trip across the Oubangui River to the CAR capital of Bangui.UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski said the return had only started eight days ago and was complete in just seven days – a record for the agency. “Although we had planned to repatriate a maximum of 350 refugees per day, on some days last week, more than 500 showed up for transportation home,” he said.Many of the returnees are former civil servants and residents of Bangui who had fled following a failed coup two years ago. They decided to return home with the change of government in Bangui this March and a recent amnesty to those linked with the 2001 coup, according to Mr. Janowski.UNHCR has now begun working with its local partner to restore the environment in and around the camp. This involves cleaning the camp, closing the pit latrines and planting more trees. The local population will receive school, health and other facilities that are left in the camp.

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