470 South Sudanese refugees return home from Kenya

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At least 470 South Sudanese refugees from Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp have returned home.

The UN Refugee Agency in South Sudan announced this in a statement released yesterday that it was still continuing to record more new returnees from Kenya, the majority of whom are Burundians, followed by Congolese and Rwandans.

The UNHCR noted that some of the newcomers claimed to be escaping the harsh living conditions in the Kakuma Refugee Camp and that they had to deal with situations like having their possessions and food stolen, among other things.

The majority of the onward movers are women and children under the age of 18, and UNHCR reported that they are coming with little more than the clothes on their backs, exhausted, and in fragile conditions from days of travel.

However, on March 15, 2023, South Sudan’s Commission for Refugee Affairs (CRA) and UNHCR agreed to relocate 309 of the onward movers (refugees) from Gorom Refugee Camp in Juba, where they have been camping for the last six months, to Makpandu Refugee Camp, in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State—about 250 kilometers west of South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

According to John Dabi, deputy commissioner for the Commission on Refugee Affairs, the government chose to relocate the onward migrants to keep them safe and provide them with improved living conditions.

“You can attest that your journey from Juba to Makpandu in Yambio County was smooth, without any problem on the road, this is because there is peace in South Sudan,” he told the refugees.

Upon landing at Makpandu, the 99 households will receive ready-made emergency shelters, meals, hoes, pangas, rakes, and plastic sheets.