The organised repatriation from Zambia was to have ended last December, with assistance given this year only inside Angola to refugees who had decided to return on their own. But earlier this month the Tripartite Commission composed of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the governments of Angola and Zambia accepted a Zambian request for an extra year.Preliminary surveys show that many refugees in Nangweshi, the largest Angolan camp with 16,000 refugees who mainly fled in the latter stages of the civil war, want to return home. The other two camps, with some 10,000 people, mainly host refugees who have been in Zambia longer and the number of those who wish to repatriate may be less.There are a similar number of Angolans living outside camps who have merged into the local population and if they wish to repatriate, UNHCR will assist them inside Angola when they return on their own.During Angola’s 27-year-long war, some half a million Angolans fled to neighbouring countries and millions more were internally displaced. When a peace agreement was signed in 2002, an estimated 457,000 Angolans were living as refugees outside the country’s borders.Since then, more than 360,000 are estimated to have come home, including 123,000 brought back by UNHCR, 89,000 who returned on their own but received UNHCR assistance on arrival, and a further 149,000 who repatriated without any UN help. UNHCR has assisted more than 63,000 Angolans to repatriate from Zambia alone.In cooperation with the government of South Africa, UNHCR is also providing assistance to Angolans who wish to return home from there this year. The estimated 14,000 Angolans in South Africa are dispersed among the local population. read more