Last Updated: Sat Sep 03, 2011 20:10 pm (KSA) 17:10 pm (GMT)

Southern Sudanese Return to Homeland

 

Hundreds of mostly Southern Sudanese people are relocating from Northern Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, to their original home areas.

Buses have been transporting residents through the state of Renk on a weekly basis. It has been the route of choice, as it is one of two unobstructed entrances to the South.

The deputy commissioner of Renk County, Deng Akuey, says these southerners became refugees during the war, but after the separation they decided to return to their homes.

Many returnees, however, are left stranded at the stations, and aid agencies are concerned about the humanitarian conditions of the situation.

"It can be a difficult process; we deal with a lot of people in one go, but so far it's going well this morning. It's quite organized," said Aaron Atkins, an International Organization for Migration official.

One man says he is tired and just wants to go home, because living standards are difficult because of food shortages and unsanitary drinking water.

However, aid agencies are trying to ease the discomfort by supplying clean water and setting up makeshift schools for children.

"In the first two weeks, when these children arrive they have a lot of psychological problems, thinking about their friends who remained in the north and about their environment. But now the child-friendly space has helped them to cope with the emergency; at least they have an opportunity to play, to socialize, to interact, to learn new skills," said Samuel Manyok, a UNICEF Official.

South Sudan became the world’s newest nation in July 9, after decades of civil war that killed as many as 2 million people.

According to the United Nations, 300,000 people have travelled back to their homeland, but 1 million remain in the North.

On Tuesday, Sudan submitted an official statement to the United Nations, blaming the South for current unrest in Southern Kordofan. However, last month, a UN report said the Sudanese army carried out random acts of violence, which its government denies.

After the separation, South Sudan also claimed the oil fields, which has heightened tensions between the two nations and increased border volatility.


Speakers:

Aaron Atkins - International Organization for Migration
Samuel Manyok - a UNICEF Official

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