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UN refugee status ends for Angolans

LUANDA, Angola (AP) – Angolans who fled as war raged in their country from the 1960s to 2002 lose their refugee status Saturday.

The U.N. refugee agency had announced in January that group refugee status would end June 30 for Angolans living in Botswana, Congo, Namibia and Zambia. The UNHCR cited 10 years of peace and growing stability in Africa’s second-largest oil producer following the end of a 1975-2002 civil war. The civil war followed a 1961-1975 war for independence from Portugal.

Of the more than 450,000 Angolans living as refugees in neighboring countries in 2002, UNHCR says 410,000 have returned. Margarida Fawke, a UNHCR repatriation official, says the Angolan government will not close the door on those who still want to return, but some are likely to stay where they are.

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