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DATE=5/12/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-249269 TITLE=CONGO REFUGEES (L-ONLY) BYLINE=LISA SCHLEIN DATELINE=GENEVA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: DESPITE ONGOING VIOLENCE IN CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE, THE UNITED NATIONS REFUGEE AGENCY, U-N-H-C-R, SAYS IT IS HELPING THOUSANDS OF REFUGEES RETURN HOME FROM NEIGHBORING CONGO-KINSHASA. LISA SCHLEIN IN GENEVA REPORTS THIS PROGRAM OF RETURN IS QUITE DIFFERENT FROM THE USUAL UNITED NATIONS REPATRIATION PROGRAMS. TEXT: THE U-N REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS THE SITUATION IN CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE REMAINS FAR FROM STABLE WITH FIGHTING BETWEEN THE BRAZZAVILLE GOVERNMENT AND SUPPORTERS OF THE EX-PRESIDENT REPORTED ON TUESDAY (YESTERDAY). THE AGENCY SAYS PEOPLE CONTINUE TO CROSS OVER TO CONGO-KINSHASA TO ESCAPE THE VIOLENCE. NEVERTHELESS, U-N-H-C-R SPOKESMAN, PAUL STROMBERG, SAYS MANY OF THE REFUGEES WANT TO GO BACK HOME. ///STROMBERG ACT/// THIS REPATRIATION PROGRAM WAS BEGUN AT THE REQUEST OF THE REFUGEES THEMSELVES AND OF THE TWO GOVERNMENTS. IN THE BEGINNING OF APRIL, U-N-H-C-R SAID IT WOULD HELP WITH TRANSPORT ANY REFUGEES WHO VOLUNTARILY CAME BACK, WANTED TO GO BACK TO BRAZZAVILLE. ///END ACT/// MR. STROMBERG SAYS THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN IN CONGO-KINSHASA FOR SEVERAL MONTHS. AND MANY OF THEM HAVE LEARNED THAT THE AREAS FROM WHICH THEY FLED ARE NOW SAFE. MORE THAN 20-THOUSAND REFUGEES FROM CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE FLED TO AN AREA SOUTHWEST OF KINSHASA LAST NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER. MR. STROMBERG SAYS MORE THAN 48-HUNDRED REFUGEES HAVE RETURNED HOME SINCE APRIL, EVEN THOUGH THEY KNOW THE SITUATION ELSEWHERE IN THE COUNTRY IS RISKY. //OPT// HE SAYS THE U-N AGENCY HAS VERY CLEARLY POINTED OUT THE DANGERS THEY MIGHT FACE IF THEY RETURN HOME. ///SECOND STROMBERG ACT/// ... SAYING THAT WE CANNOT PROMOTE REPATRIATION, WE CANNOT ENCOURAGE YOU TO GO HOME BECAUSE MANY PARTS OF THE COUNTRY ARE STILL UNSTABLE. BUT, WE CAN HELP YOU WITH TRANSPORT AND THIS, IN FACT, STOPS THEM FROM GOING THROUGH A VERY DANGEROUS AREA IN CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE AND RETURNS THEM BY RAIL AND THEN FROM BOAT FROM KINSHASA TO BRAZZAVILLE TO AREAS THAT ARE SAFER. ///END ACT/// //END OPT// MR. STROMBERG SAYS HIS AGENCY WILL ORGANIZE A MORE TYPICAL REPATRIATION OPERATION ONCE IT DECIDES THE SITUATION IN CONGO- BRAZZAVILLE HAS RETURNED TO NORMAL. WHEN THAT HAPPENS, HE SAYS THE AGENCY WILL BE ABLE TO ASSIST THE REFUGEES UPON THEIR RETURN HOME. HE SAYS THE AGENCY WILL PROVIDE THE RETURNING REFUGEES WITH FOOD AND OTHER SUPPLIES THEY WILL NEED TO REPAIR THEIR HOMES AND HELP THEM RESTART THEIR LIVES. (SIGNED) NEB/LS/PCF 12-May-99 10:04 AM EDT (1404 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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