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Dozens of refugees return to West Darfur state, official

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)
October 15, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Dozens of Sudanese families refugees in Chad have recently returned to West Darfur state, announced the commissioner for voluntary return on Sunday

Darfur Commissioner for Voluntary Return, Taj al-din Ibrahim al-Tahir, said dozens of families that were in eastern Chad returned and resettled to Beida area in the state of West Darfur.

Al-Tahir said the Office of Voluntary Return is working in coordination with the state authorities to provide the needed support to the returnees.

The commissioner recently inspected the conditions of returnees to Beida town in West Darfur state and verified that local authorities have provided basic education and health and established a police station.

In a report released this week, the UNOCHA said some 13,000 people have returned state from eastern Chad to Sirba and Kulbus localities, in West Darfur state.

The report was released after a joint inter-agency mission to the areas last August including representatives from the Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), UN agencies, international and national NGOs, UNAMID and Sudanese security.

"The mission found that the nomads, residents and return communities in the return areas live together peacefully as there are functioning farms and crop protection committees that mediate and resolve disputes over farmlands’" OCHA said.

However, the report mentioned lack of police posts in several villages assessed by the joint mission.

The security remains the principal concern for the IDPs and refugees who accuse tribal militias of attacking their villages.

The commissioner said the local authorities started the issuance of identity cards for the returnees.

In a related development, Federal Health Minister Bahr Idriss Abu Garda starts on Monday a visit to several localities in North Darfur state to inspect the situation of the returnees.

The visit, which will include El Malha, Alwaha, Kutum, El Tina, Karnoi and Um Baru, coincides with the launch of medical convoys to visit the returnees and IDPs in these areas.

The government has begun a series of weapons collection campaigns hoping to quell violence in the region, to convince IDPs and refugees to return to their home areas that they fled when the conflict started in 2003.

However, observers say with the lack of a permanent peace agreement would be difficult to persuade Arab tribes to hand over their weapons.

Also, some African tribes say the campaign means that arms would be in the hands of Arab militias, adding they would not hesitate to use it to serve their tribal agenda.

(ST)