Local integration of Angolans kicks off in Otjiwarongo

14 Feb 2014 17:30pm
OTJIWARONGO, 14 FEB (NAMPA) – More than 2 000 Angolans residing in Namibia are expected to be issued with permanent residence permits this month.
The Namibian Commissioner for Refugees, Nkrumah Mushelenga told Nampa in an interview on Friday the registration of Angolans residing in Namibia who do not want to be repatriated commenced in Otjiwarongo on Wednesday.
The registration is taking place at the Teachers’ Resource Centre and will end on 28 February 2014.
“We don’t want to see any Angolan residing in Namibia being left out, come and register for your permanent residence documents,” he said.
Mushelenga said the refugee status of all Angolans in Namibia lapsed on 30 June 2013, and the local integration process is the next stage for those who do not want return to Angola.
He said over 3 000 Angolans were repatriated in 2013. However, close to 5 000 remained at the Osire Refugee Camp. The camp is situated nearly 100 kilometres south of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region.
Osire was established in 1992 to accommodate Angolans fleeing the civil war that broke out in Angola between Government armed forces and National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) rebels led by Jonas Savimbi.
According to Mushelenga, a total of 1 742 refugees were interviewed and their details were profiled in 2013.
He said all of them indicated that they wish to stay in Namibia.
“However, many more Angolans are residing in Namibia in different regions, and therefore the Namibian Government is prepared to integrate them,” he said.
Mushelenga said once the Angolans are registered and issued with permanent residence permits, they will be allowed to state which region they wish to be settled in.
Mushelenga’s office will then liaise with the regional governors’ offices to have them settled.
Most of the Angolans queuing for registration on Friday indicated that they wish to be settled in the Otjozondjupa, Khomas, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana, Kunene and Kavango regions.
The 24-year-old Eunice Chindekasse said even though she was born in Angola, she grew up in Namibia after her family fled Angola due to the war.
“I am happy, I found a good life and peace in Namibia, I want to stay,” she said.
An Angolan student at the University of Namibia (Unam), Valentina Soares said she has never been to Angola since her parents fled the civil war there in 1992.
“We are happy here in Namibia and we don’t want to return to Angola,” the 22-year-old student said.
The registration exercise is being conducted by officials from the Angolan Government led by Feliciano Manuel Bernardo from that country’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.
Officials from the Namibian Government are overseeing the process.