Yei registers sizable returnees as hunger strikes

By James Innocent

South Sudanese who fled to neighboring Uganda and DR Congo as refugees for safety, due to the 2016 war are voluntarily returning back to their homes citing suffering and hardships in the UN resettlement camps.
The South Sudanese refugees are spontaneously returning to their home villages in Yei River County of Central Equatoria state. Since the beginning of the year, the number of returnees keeps on increasing every day. This has also increased the population of the residents in Yei which had been depopulated in the hottest days of the political crisis.
The returning population has, however, been confined to Yei town because most of the returnees also fear to assess their homes in the village, looking into the armed cattle herders who were roaming around the vicinities of Central Equatoria state.
The Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) office in Yei River County has registered more than two thousand five hundred twenty-seven (2,520) returnees who have come from Congo and Uganda.

Mabe Moses, an official at RRC office in Yei said the returnees are coming voluntarily and the number keeps increasing.
“I just want to give an update concerning the South Sudanese returning back home from Uganda and Congo to Yei and if you see the statistics of both from January to the month of April, like in January the beginning of the year we received six hundred seventeen, February seven hundred and sixteen, March we have one thousand and eighty-nine returnees, which means if we add up, we have more two thousand five hundred twenty five returnees who have come from both Uganda and Congo according to the statistics,” he revealed.
Mabe stated that food has become a problem for all the South Sudanese communities living around Yei both returnees and host communities, because of the climate change, which affected farming.
“In fact, the challenge is not only with the returnees and even the host communities, food is becoming a big problem in the community of Yei because the rain pattern keeps on changing compared to last year, and I really want to thank the people of greater Yei for sharing food and other things with the rest of the community,” he pointed.

One of the returnees known as Simon Bida disclosed that the refugees in Congo are really suffering as they lack basic necessities such as food, education and other needs.
He added that they are tired in the refugee camps and he appealed to the government to work for lasting peace in the country.
Bida stated that “we are also refugees in Congo living in the Camp of Meri and we have come home because the South Sudanese Refugees are facing hunger and lack of other basic needs and no education for the children amidst suffering.”
“Since we went to Congo, the education strategy is really very poor and I am urging the government to really work on peace so that the refugees come back home,” he decried.

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