News, Northern Bahr el-ghazal

Returnees warned against risking returning to Sudan

By Hou Akot Hou


Chairperson of Northern Bahr el Ghazal’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) appeals to a growing number of returnees considering a dangerous journey back to Sudan, not to attempt.

Benson Lual Awach stated that reports indicate hundreds of returnees have been spotted crossing the Kiir River, locally known as “Tukul”, or travelling on foot and by cart back towards Sudan.

Awach warned that attempts to return pose a grave risk to their lives, as the conflicts in many parts of Sudan are still ongoing.

“I want to tell the returnees who are going back not to mobilize the impoverished returnees by saying that life in Sudan is better,” Awach implored.

“Be patient, as your difficult conditions here are clear to everyone in the state.”

Awach acknowledged the severe lack of food and other hardships faced by the returnee population but urged them to hold on as humanitarian organizations work to address the situation.

He noted that relief efforts are often hindered by delayed responses from international donors.

“The humanitarian organizations rely on donors who hardly reply back to the proposals or projects delivered to them. That is why the relief organizations take much longer in coming to help at all the sites where the returnees are staying,” Awach explained.

The RRC chair stated that he is currently in Juba meeting with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and other partners to determine how best to assist the returnees and refugees in Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

Returnee representative Deng Dut in the Wadwil refugee camp, corroborated Awach’s account, estimating that he has witnessed around 200 returnees attempting the dangerous journey back to Sudan’s Darfur and South Kordofan regions.

Dut lamented that the returnees felt they had no choice but to “go back and die in the camps in Sudan or go and work in the philanthropists’ homes.”

Dut criticized local authorities for not doing enough to support the returnee population, arguing that the focus has been primarily on the refugee communities.

With elections approaching, Dut wondered how leaders would secure votes when the majority of their constituents are opting to return to Sudan due to the lack of assistance.


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