The United Nations says Sudanese refugees have begun returning from the Central African Republic under a new deal between the countries and the U.N. refugee agency.
The U.N. says the deal, which was signed Wednesday, will allow some 16,000 Sudanese refugees living in the CAR to voluntarily return home.
It says the first group of refugees was scheduled to fly home Thursday. Five thousand refugees are expected to return to Sudan by April. The rest will go home by the end of the year.
The deal is one of several involving Sudan reached this week by the refugee agency and Sudan's neighbors.
The U.N. says the other agreements will allow for the return of 13,000 Sudanese refugees living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and for the return of nearly 7,000 Congolese refugees currently in Sudan.