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Last batch of refugees in CAR returns to South Darfur

A returning refugee steps off an aircraft in Darfur, Sudan, after a flight from the Central African Republic on 12 December 2017 (UNHCR Photo)
January 1, 2018 (NYALA) - The last batch of Sudanese refugees returning from the neighbouring Central Africa Republic (CAR) arrived in Nyala airport on Monday, ending over 10 years of asylum.

The group is part of over 1500 Sudanese refugees who arrived from Dafak in South Darfur state. they sought protection in the Central African Republic saying their homes had been bombarded by the government planes in May 2007.

On 12 December 2017, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) begun the repatriation of the 402 remaining Sudanese refugees in the troubled Central Africa country.

The Nyala city and UNHCR organized a reception for the last batch of 45 returnees.

Speaking at the reception the head of refugees office at the municipality Mubarak Zachariah welcomed the returnees and announced they would be transported to Dafak on Wednesday.

He added that some 1039 returnees have already arrived to their home area and called on the returnees to renounce tribalism and work to establish a new future.

Earlier last December, the UNGCR said the Sudanese government has pledged to implement international standards governing refugee returns - including the benefit of amnesties, as well as UNHCR’s role in monitoring the returns.

For his part, the UNHCR representative thanked the Sudanese authorities for facilitating the return of returnees.

He pledged to provide all services to the returnees including health care, water and education in coordination with the relevant organizations and ministries.

Dafak, group was part of some 3500 Sudanese refugees who fled to the Central African Republic from South Darfur state in 2007 during the armed conflict between the government army and rebel groups.

Sudanese refugees in the Central African Republic were being hosted in Pladama Ouaka camp, near Bambari.

UN agencies estimate that 650,000 Sudanese refugees live in the neighbouring countries - including Chad and South Sudan. The government called on the refugees to return home but the lack of means and infrastructure hamper the refugees’ return.

Also, the lack of political agreement with the armed groups is seen as another factor for the slow return of refugees.