Last updateDim, 01 Fév 2015 3pm

Society: 'Some 13,000 Mauritanians still reside in Senegal'

There are some 13,000 Mauritanian refugees still residing in Senegal after the repatriation of 24,333 of them a couple of years ago, Barry Ousmane, former coordinator of the Mauritanian Refugees Associations in Senegal, said in Dakar on Monday.

Ousmane said among the remaining refugees, more than the half still want to return to Mauritania. Some have decided to stay permanently in Senegal while others prefer to settle in another country.

The last group of Mauritanian refugees was escorted back home at the end of March 2012.

Ousmane in 2007 accompanied a delegation of the Mauritanian Government to visit the 276 refugee sites located along the Senegal River Valley.

Moussas Aw, who is in charge of  Dar-Es-Lam refugee camp in Ourossogui in the Matam region in northern of Senegal), said the camp still accommodated 113 people who had already been registered to go back to Mauritania and were awaiting a favourable response from the Mauritanian authorities and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

He said other refugees had not been registered, while children had been born to families after the latest registration of people willing to return to their country.

Several tens of thousands of black Mauritanians were deported to Senegal after ethnic clashes at the end of April 1989.

On the basis of a Tripartite Agreement signed in November 2007 between the Mauritanian and the Senegalese governments and the UNHCR, Nouakchott decided to repatriate its citizens  with the last group of 25,000 returning in March 2012.

Pana 18/02/2014