[Dehai-WN] VOA: Nile River Barges Carry South Sudanese Home

[Dehai-WN] VOA: Nile River Barges Carry South Sudanese Home

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2011 19:46:21 +0200

Nile River Barges Carry South Sudanese Home

Joe DeCapua

. October 11, 2011

More South Sudanese who had been stranded in Sudan have returned home in a
Nile river barge convoy. The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
is overseeing the ongoing operation, which began in March.

"Just last week, we were able to bring home around 1,400, who arrived in
Juba. They were part of a large convoy that left from Kosti in White Nile
State, which is in Sudan," said Claire Bolt, manager of IOM's returns
project, which is funded by the Common Humanitarian Fund. Bolt is based in

De Capua report on South Sudan returnees

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In all, 1,800 had boarded the barges in Kosti, but about 400 disembarked at
ports along the way.

"So far this year, IOM has supported the return of 14,000 people altogether
from Kosti in White Nile to South Sudan," she said. About 7,000 were
relocated during March and April and a similar number between July and

Many still waiting

Bolt said, "We estimate there are around 500,000 to 800,000 southerners
remaining in Sudan. We know that there are around 10,000 people still
waiting in Kosti at the weigh station there. And there are around 16,000
waiting in Khartoum in some open areas.and then there are many other
hundreds of thousands of people around various locations in Sudan, who may
or may not wish to return home," she said.

The IOM said, "Time is running out" for the South Sudanese in the north.
Following the South's independence July 9th, the Khartoum government agreed
to an interim period for the return of the South Sudanese. It was scheduled
to last until March 2012.

"We have been hearing from various sources that this interim period may
actually be decreased and may end at the end of this year. So we're worried
that this won't get enough time to move all of the people who still want to
go back to South Sudan," said Bolt.

Western overland route

A new agreement was signed on October 5th between IOM and Sudanese
authorities to allow the transport of South Sudanese by rail. Trains would
carry returnees from Khartoum to western South Sudan, specifically Western
Bahr el Ghazal and Northern Bahr el Ghazal states.

"Because there is conflict going on the border areas between Sudan and South
Sudan, we cannot travel by road to reach their home towns and home
villages," she said.

The rail operation could begin in about a week and transport about 12,000
returnees by the end of the year.

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