Hundreds of refugees return to assess home villages in DR of Congo

“Most of the returnees are women who leave their families in Burundi, crossing back into the DRC to assess the situation in their villages and to check on their property. They say they plan to report back to their families in Burundi before planning their return,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.Some 300 people, including students who are scheduled to take final exams, have returned home since 1 July. Another 500 have said they are ready to return, but UNHCR has cautioned them that health facilities and schools in the area are badly damaged “and the military tends to harass and steal from the local population.”Businesspeople have been travelling regularly to and from Kamanyola, nonetheless, especially on market days, according to the agency.Meanwhile, the central Government in Kinshasa has reportedly asked the authorities in Uvira and Kamanyola to give away the jobs of government employees who do not return home soon, UNHCR said.Small numbers of Congolese have continued to flee tensions in the South Kivu region and have crossed into Burundi, saying they were afraid of being caught up in conflict between national troops and rebels.