The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resolved to repatriate 21,000 of its nationals who are exiled in Uganda following the deaths of more than 100 Congolese refugees in a boat accident in Lake Albert.
Last month, a boat with a carrying capacity of 50 capsized with more than 200 with more than 200 Congolese refugees cramped into it, as they sought to return to their country from Uganda.
we have learnt a lesson from the incident
A total of 109 dead bodies were retrieved by Ugandan police, while 90 survivors were rescued.
It is reported that the exiles were returning to their homeland following reports that peace had been restored in their country.
The refugees had fled their homes last year, as M23 rebels and government troops fought running battles in their villages.
M23 rebels were overpowered by government troops with help of African Union forces, with most of their fighters either surrendering or fleeing to Uganda.
“It is sad that we lost our people,” DRC’s envoy to Uganda, Jean Okoto Lolakombe said. “But we have learnt a lesson from the incident. We have finalised preparations to safely take the refugees back home.”
He said that there was now total peace in the restive eastern DRC following the defeat of M23 rebels.
“We think it is safe for them to go back home. M23 rebels are now in the past,” Lolakombe said.
He, however, said before they start repatriating the refugees, they will first meet with Uganda and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in a tripartite meeting between April 20 and 22 to seek a consensus on the exercise.