Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- Some 173 Congolese refugees were repatriated Thursda y from Burundi to their home country of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations High Commis sioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.
The refugees were returned to their country under the resumed repatriation by th e UNHCR, which suspended the process due to security conditions in South Kivu after repatriating about 1, 500 refugees between 2006 and 2007.
Improved security has made it possible for the UN agency to resume the repatriat ion process, the statement said.
The 173 Congolese refugees are among the 1,000 refugees who have so far expresse d their willingness to returning to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The returnees got food assistance for three months and basic items during their stay at the transit camp.
They will later be taken to their home regions.
The repatriation is part of a voluntary repatriation programme being undertaken by the two countries, and facilitated by UNHCR Burundi is home to 28,000 Congolese refugees, 20,000 of whom live in three camps while 8,300 settled in Bujumbura, the UNHCR said.