Lusaka, October 16, 2019, ZANIS---About 111 refugees and other persons of concern have this year returned to their homes of origin spontaneously, from refugee settlements and urban areas.

The United Nations high Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement made available to ZANIS that of the 111 refugees, 51 were Congolese, 32 Angolans, 13 Burundians, 9 Somalians, 4 Rwandese, 1 Namibian and 1 Zimbabwean.

UNHCR Public Information Associate for Zambia Kelvin Shimoh said the UN refugee agency has also assisted 13 refugees, to voluntarily repatriate from 2018 to date.

Mr Shimoh said seven refugees who were all of Burundi origin were assisted this year while six Zimbabweans were assisted to return home in 2018.

"As of August 31 2019, a cumulative figure of 363 refugees have been resettled to third countries from Zambia, with 14 persons having departed in the month of August this year," the statement reads in part.

Mr Shimoh said of the 363 refugees who were resettled by UNHCR to third countries, 218 were from Meheba, 73 from Mayukwayukwa as well as 72 from urban areas.

He disclosed that 153 of the total 363 refugees were settled in the United States of America, 128 in Finland, 70 in Sweden, 8 in Canada and 4 in Norway.

Recently the Zambian Government expressed concern over the spontaneous return of refugees who left the country without following the established procedures.

Zambia is currently hosting 84, 500 persons of concern who include 61,300 refugees and over 23,200 former refugees from Angola, Rwanda and other countries.

The refugees and persons of concern are hosted in the three refugee settlements namely Mantapala in Luapula, Mayukwayukwa in Western and Meheba in North-Western Provinces, while others are in urban areas.

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