Congo Watch: Congo Refugees Return, Determined to Vote

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Congo Refugees Return, Determined to Vote

Note this post by Publius Pundit pointed out by Captain Marlow [with thanks]

CONGO'S REVOLUTIONARIES

Thousands of Congo's displaced exiles are returning to their homeland in extreme hardship solely for the privilege of voting. Don't anyone ever tell me they had the option to vote here in the states and just didn't do it. Look at what these brave revolutionaries in Congo are doing.

The news item is here and Robert or I will put together a news and blogger roundup if there is any further information we can get:

Thousands of Congolese refugees are piling their furniture, bicycles, pots and pans onto barely seaworthy boats and heading back to their war-ravaged homeland, determined to vote in presidential elections.

"I want peace, I want to vote and I want a good life for my children," said Mukato Selemani after crossing Lake Tanganyika aboard a blue barge from Tanzania on Saturday, nine years after fleeing pillaging gunmen. A real citizen will not miss the elections.

Selemani, 29, does not even know if his village still exists.

But he joined the thousands of refugees making the journey back home in hopes of voting in the election next year - their vast mineral-rich country's first in nearly half a century.

Read the whole thing here.

Congo election return

Photo: An unidentified woman refugee carries her belongings from a boat on Lake Tanganyika near the town of Baraka, Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, Sept, 17, 2005.

Those in Tanzania represent nearly half of an estimated 380,000 Congolese refugees still living in neighboring countries, said Jan Hesemann, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Congo, with nearly 30,000 of those who escaped the war having returned since last October.(AP Photo/Anjan Sundaram/Yahoo)

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