Treat returnees equally -Albino tells well-wishers

By Gladys Kole

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Albino Akol Atak has urged well-wishers and business tycoons who have been chartering private planes to evacuate returnees to be generous and never discriminate while making the recuses.

He echoed the concerns to the media on Tuesday upon arrival at Juba International Airport following their successful two-day mission to assess the situation of the returnees and refugees in Palouch, Renk and Jodah.

“Those private planes pledged by well-wishers and business tycoons to go and pick our people has to be managed,” said Albino

The minister however encouraged the efforts of the government officials, business tycoons and well-wishers in helping to evacuate returnees but said “the process needs to be managed properly with the hopes of taking all of them and not leaving anyone behind”.

Minister Atak further expressed that “it should be the vulnerable group of people to be prioritized like the women, children, elderly and the sick and not based on selection and discrimination of returnees and refugees”. 

Last month more than 500 citizens who crossed from Sudan into Upper Nile state border town of Palouch due to the fighting were airlifted to Juba.

The returnees were transported from Meluth Renk County to Juba after well-wishers, government officials and business tycoons hired seven planes to unite them with their families.

The planes were chartered by the presidential advisor for security affairs Tut Gatlauk and some philanthropists.

“We left our team on ground to arrange, our government planes will be leaving tomorrow on Wednesday after the arrangements” noted Atak.

Humanitarian affairs minister stated that the local authorities are also cooperating on ground with “our teams on ground in order to register returnees for evacuation”

Mr. Atak however clarified that they don’t intend to ferry all those stranded at Palouch to Juba

“Our plan is not to bring all these people to Juba but rather to where everyone is supposed to go to their families, Payams, bomas, cities and for the Sudanese refugees who have nowhere to go at the moment they can go to the two large refugee camps in South Sudan”

The minister pledged that they shall continue to also take care of them (returnees) “with our partners with the provision of food item and medical assistance.”

The ministry of petroleum also has reportedly taken an initiative to provide a plane daily to transport returnees from Sudan.

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