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UN to repatriate 3,500 Sudanese refugees from Chad in 2018

Returned families arrive at their original village of Sehjanna near Kutum in North Darfur and greet their relatives on 14 July 2011 (Photo/UNAMID Albert Gonzalez Farran)

July 6, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said it is planning to repatriate 3,500 Sudanese refugees from Chad by the end of the year.

On 31 May 2017, Sudan, Chad and the UNHCR signed two separate tripartite agreements on the voluntary return of Sudanese refugees from Chad and Chadian refugees from Sudan.

Also, the three parties in January 2018 signed an operational plan for the repatriation of 20,000 Sudanese refugees from Chad to Darfur region during this year.

“Since the start of the programme in April this year, UNHCR has assisted a total of 353 refugee returns to Darfur from Chad. The refugee returnees received return packages containing essential items such as shelter tarpaulins, jerry cans and cooking utensils, and cash assistance” said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its monthly bulletin

“Returning refugees arrived at a ‘reception centre’ in Tina town, before moving to villages in Tina, Kornoi, Kebkabiya, Kutum, El Fasher, and Saraf Omra localities in North Darfur. A small group of 33 people has returned to Jebel Moon in West Darfur State” OCHA added

It pointed out that “the convoys will pause for the June–August rainy season and resume after the rainy season”, saying “UNHCR plans to repatriate at least 3,500 refugees to Sudan by the end of the year”.

UN reports say the security situation in Darfur has largely improved but stress that the lack of infrastructures and services prevent the return of refugees and displaced persons to their areas of origin.

Chad hosts over 300,000 Sudanese refugees residing in the eastern region of the neighbouring country not far from the border with Chad.

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

(ST)