UNHCR says over 357,000 South Sudanese refugees returned home in 3 years

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FILE PHOTO: Sudanese refugees wait in line in the outpatient department at the MSF ( Medecins Sans Frontieres ) field hospital in Jamam refugee camp, South Sudan. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Some 357,450 South Sudanese refugees have returned home from regional countries since November 2017, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday.

According to UNHCR and South Sudan’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) monthly update for December 2020, some 236,764 refugees out of the figure returned following the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in October 2018.

The report says the majority (61 percent) of the spontaneous refugee returnees were from Sudan while 23 percent returned from Ethiopia.

The reasons for the return and cross-border movements by the refugees according to the report include improved security in South Sudan, inflows and family visits during the festive season to attend traditional ceremonies and festivals.

The report says the refugees have also cited cases of extortion, arrest, and harassment by authorities at Nadapal, Nimule border points with Kenya and Uganda as the reasons for the return to South Sudan.

The report says the refugees have also expressed fear of the current unrest in Ethiopia and anticipated unrest during and post-elections in Uganda as the reasons for their return.

South Sudan is currently implementing the 2018 revitalized peace deal the former warring parties signed in Ethiopia to end more than six years of conflict, since the outbreak in December 2013.

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