IOM to begin river movement of Renk returnees

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) prepared late last week to deport nearly 3,000 South Sudanese migrants stranded in Renk to their final destinations in the Greater Bahr el-Ghazal region via Nile barges. It is the first movement since a hiatus of more than 4 months.

Deputy Coordinator of South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) Fadiat Kak told Radio Tamazuj that IOM jointly with SSRRC have started the process of deportation of Sudan returnees in Renk to the various states of Greater Bahr el-Ghazal of Western, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, Warrap and Lakes states.

Kak revealed that registration of the returnees began since on May 21, at Abayok camp, noting that they had previously deported group of returnees from Unity State and Upper Nile by land, however, they are now transporting this group of the Bahr el-Ghazal states by river.

He added that the preparations are almost winding up and returnees will start moving at the end of this month or early in June. In regard to aid assistance, Kak stressed that it’s on the shoulders of aid organizations to make sure that all the necessary basic needs of returnees are met.

“There is ongoing registration process in the all camps present in Renk which include, Abayok, Mina and Fayawar. Currently registration started at Abayok from which we are intending to deport a considerable number of returnees to the Bahr el-Ghazal states. The registration started 2 days back. The process is carried out by IOM organization at the assembly area in coordination with SSRRC. We want to deport them through Nile transportation means to Juba, than, from there to the various states of greater Bahr el-Ghazal. This is actually part of the continuous voluntary return program,” Kak stated.

It should be noted that the barges have not being operating since 4 months ago due to a conflict between the tax authorities and operating companies, which led to the cessation of the process. The issue was resolved and companies have re-commenced the transportation process.

File photo: Barges loaded with household possessions of returnees in Renk (UK Embassy)