, KINSHASA, Mar 11 – Angola has expelled more than 10,000 Democratic Republic of Congo nationals since January despite the two countries\’ agreement to suspend repatriations, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
"From January 1 to February 28, more than 10,200 Congolese expelled from Angola were registered in and around Kamako," in the central DR Congo province of Kasai Occidental, according to a statement released in Kinshasa by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
"These expulsions have been accompanied by rapes, torture, intimate searches conducted without any hygiene precautions and extortion of belongings," the statement said.
Some 366 rapes of women and girls have been recorded, OCHA said, and there are reports of even more.
A UN mission travelled to Kamako, on the Congo-Angola border, in late February to assess the humanitarian situation faced by the expelled people and local communities and to check allegations of violence, OCHA said.
Since 2004, a mass expulsion campaign called "Diamond", aimed at tackling the illicit trade in precious gems, has seen more than 400,000 illegal immigrants, mostly Congolese, expelled from Angola\’s mining regions.
In response to these expulsions, early last October Congo began throwing out Angolans living there — often legitimately — since Angola\’s civil war.
Later the same month, Congolese President Joseph Kabila and his Angolan counterpart Eduardo Dos Santos decided to suspend expulsions between the two countries.