Munich, 22 October 1997 (RFE/RL/) -- The German government reports that about 85,000 of the 345,000 Bosnian refugees in Germany have returned home voluntarily since the beginning of this year.
An Interior Ministry spokesman in Bonn said today that the federal government appears to have a good chance of achieving its goal of 100,000 returnees by the of the year. He said international aid programs and the success of the elections in Bosnia have helped to create conditions which encouraged the return of refugees.
There are still about 260,000 Bosnian refugees in Germany, most Muslims from towns and districts now occupied by Serbs hostile to their return.
Earlier this year the repatriation of Bosnian refugees was controversial in Germany, with some provinces threatening to deport those who would not return voluntarily. Officials said today that, in practice, fewer than 800 have been deported.