7 Jul 2020


Thousands Of South Sudanese Refugees Returning Home From Camps: Official

"What they want is peace and stability so that they can return home. is at peace Yei now and I am going to tell them that by phone to return home and rebuild their broken houses and start farming...",

Thousands Of South Sudanese Refugees Returning Home From Camps: Official
Lasu Payam women footing along the Yei-Lasu road to Yei town. [Photo by Daniel Friday Martin | Gurtong]

 By Daniel Friday Martin

YEI (24. May.2019) GURTONG - Thousands of South Sudanese refugees and internally displaced persons who sought safety in neighboring DRC and Uganda and several villages and bushes around Yei River State after the 2016 violence are returning home. An official said.
According to Taban Obed, the state Relief and Rehabilitation Commission Acting Chairperson, told Gurtong that more than 5,000 refugees have returned to Yei town from Uganda and DRC for the last two months.
He said most of the voluntary returnees are coming on daily basis through the Yei-Kaya and Yei-Aba roads. He said many internally displaced persons are also returning to settle in their previous villages and town centers.
Mr Obed said the significant return is attributed to the improving security situation and also free movement of people, goods and services along the major roads. He said most of the returnees and IDPs are in need of emergency start-up support and provisions, more especially food, clean water, medical care and none food items.
“These people are returning on daily basis and my call to the humanitarian agencies is to re-plan their return and recovery programs to meet the basic needs of the IDPs and returnees through provision of emergency food and nonfood items so that they can begin a new life back home,” he added.
The acting Chair of the Relief Commission said many returnees at the border entry points, more especially at the South Sudan-Uganda border point, are finding it too expensive to afford means of transport from Kaya to Yei town.
“A one way transport cost for a passenger from Kaya to Yei is 4,000 SSP an amount equivalent to 50,000 Ugandan shillings and many of them cannot afford to get transport fee. If other agencies are also there to help us with transport that will be appreciated,” he added.
The official also appealed to agencies dealing in the food security cluster to provide farm seeds and tools to the returning population so that they can produce their own food than heavily relaying on humanitarian assistance.
“The returnees and IDPs are returning at a time when it’s raining, my call to the food and security cluster organizations is to consider helping these vulnerable population with some farm seeds and tools so that they can produce their own food and be self-reliant in the next few months”.
Sara Poni, a returnee from Uganda’s Rhino camp, could not hide her happiness. “I am so happy because I am back to Yei town after being away for the last two years in Uganda. We suffered in the camps without access to quality food, clean water and medication. I thank God because I am back home although we are starting life from Zero, I am sure God will help us one day”, she added.
Sarah is appealing to the South Sudanese leaders and its citizens to stand for peace and support the implementation of the peace agreement so some of her friends and relatives can return home.
“There are many South Sudanese citizens more especially from Yei River State in several camps in Northern Uganda. They would love to return home. What they want is peace and stability so that they can return home. is at peace Yei now and I am going to tell them that by phone to return home and rebuild their broken houses and start farming”, she added.
Raphael Duku, an IDP from Lasu Village, welcomed the signing of the revitalized peace agreement and relative peace and stability around Yei River State.
“I am very happy with the government of Yei River State for restoring peace in Yei. We can now move from our villages to the town and from the town to the villages without fear on the road. What we want as ordinary citizens of this country is peace and stability so that we can produce food and do businesses for ourselves without any support from either the UN or the government”, Duku said.
In many occasions and events in and outside Yei town, Yei River State Governor, Emmanuel Adil, has been preaching the language of peace and stability in the whole state.
Adil said his administration is working towards peace, reconciliation and re-uniting the people torn apart by the senseless conflict that divided peaceful communities.
“As a government we are for peace and we also call upon our brothers and sisters who have taken up arms to join the wagon of peace to make things better for our people so they can contribute towards development” Adil said while touring the counties recently.
Adil also said the state government is committed to implement all the provisions of the revitalized peace agreement. “As a government we are in full support to the peace agreement and we will work very hard to disseminate the agreement up to the population in the rural communities so that they understand and own the peace agreement”.
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