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JUBA - 1 Jun 2012

725 previously stranded in Kosti reach Torit

A convoy of 725 returnees from Sudan reached Torit in Eastern Equatoria State, according to a statement released yesterday by the International Organization for Migration. The group had been stranded in Kosti until recently when they were airlifted by IOM from Sudan to Juba. A convoy of 19 buses, 3 trucks, and 3 IOM light vehicles departed Wednesday afternoon and arrived in Torit by 8pm. The onward movement of these returnees is part of a larger operation that has already airlifted more than 8000 people from Sudan to South Sudan. Insecurity and border closings have prevented IOM from moving the returnees by road from North to South. Resistance on the part of local authorities in border areas such as Renk to allow passage of returnees and transit camps has been another factor in prompting the costly humanitarian effort. At an IOM-supported transit sit in Juba, there were 4,025 ‘registered and verified’ returnees as of 28 May 2012, according to a head count. With the departure of the convoy to Torit, it is estimated that there are currently 3,900 returnees remaining at the site in Juba at Kapuri Bridge. ‘Today, I finally travel home with my wife; I welcome this chance to take some of my people back to where they come from. We are returning to a good life in Torit’, said Sultan Richard Anyara, as quoted by IOM in its press release. Anyara had spent 26 years working as a policeman in Khartoum and one year waiting in Kosti on his way to the South. Christina, mother of five children, queued from 8am to board the convoy with her family, ‘I am excited to return to Torit to meet with my brother whom I have not seen in many years. My children, who were all born in Khartoum, must come to know this country as their own’.