UN says Congolese refugees return home this week

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KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — The U.N.’s refugee agency says the first wave of Congolese refugees living in Burundi will be repatriated this week.

Spokeswoman Celine Schmitt said Thursday that refugees who fled to Burundi starting in the late 1990s will begin returning to their homes in Congo this week. She says more than 1,000 refugees asked to be repatriated. More than 170 will go in the first wave this week.

According to the agency, 28,000 Congolese nationals currently live in Burundi, 20,000 in refugee camps and 8,000 in urban areas. Most of the refugees fled Congo in the wake of wars that led to the ousting of former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997.