News / Africa

Airlift Returns S. Sudanese Refugees Home

South Sudanese waiting to be flown back to their country sit at Khartoum Airport May 14, 2012.
South Sudanese waiting to be flown back to their country sit at Khartoum Airport May 14, 2012.
Michael Onyiego
JUBA, South Sudan - An airlift is under way to bring more than 12,000 South Sudanese citizens home from neighboring Sudan. The returnees were blocked from going home when Khartoum shut down some of its borders due to clashes with the South.  After months of waiting, they are finally arriving in South Sudan.

 In April, Sudan declared them foreigners.  Without proper paperwork or identification, many were unable to obtain residence permits in Sudan and forced to leave.  Working with the South Sudanese government, the International Organization of Migration, IOM, organized an airlift home.

IOM is bringing the returnees to a temporary camp on the outskirts of Juba.  Most are coming back after many years spent in the north.

Airlift Returns South Sudanese Refugees Homei
|| 0:00:00
X
Michael Onyiego
June 03, 2012 12:03 AM
An airlift is under way to bring more than 12,000 South Sudanese citizens home from neighboring Sudan. The returnees were blocked from going home when Khartoum shut down some of its borders due to clashes with the South. After months of waiting, they are finally arriving in South Sudan. Michael Onyiego reports from Juba, South Sudan's capital.

The people at this temporary camp made the long journey from Kosti, where they were stranded for months after Sudanese authorities blocked IOM barges carrying people down the Nile River.

“We stayed too long in Kosti, about one year.  There was no transportation and everything became tied to money," explained returnee Jakalin Zakaria. "You have to pay money to put your luggage on the barge. If you don’t have it, they will refuse you.  My brother stayed and managed to put my luggage on the barge.”

Many, like Zakaria, are happy to return to South Sudan to restart their lives. South Sudanese often face discrimination in Sudan, especially after the separation of the South last July.

“We have moved from South Sudan to north Sudan 25 years ago. We stayed in northern Sudan.  It is better for me to stay here  because this is my country and I have to be here instead of staying in northern Sudan,” said Fazia, who is glad to be home.

Moving to a new country has not been easy for the returnees.  The IOM has helped, but many people at the camp have had trouble locating everything they brought with them from Sudan.

IOM’s Samantha Donkin says the logistical challenges of transporting more than 12,000 people were massive.

“Kosti itself is about 300 kilometers south of Khartoum," Donkin noted.  "So, because the airlift movements are happening same day, it’s a matter of getting all the people onto buses with their hand luggage, travelling to Khartoum, boarding airplanes, then flying to Juba, then organizing their transport from Juba to this transit site, which is about 13 kilometers outside of Juba.”

Some of the returnees will soon be taken back to their hometowns across South Sudan.  But IOM says many plan on staying in Juba.  IOM expects most of the returnees to remain at the transit site for months.

The camp already has over 7,500 people, and more are on the way.  As groups continue to arrive, IOM is working fast to provide new homes for those coming back for the first time in years.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid