1 000s of S Sudanese on road home from Sudan
05 November 2013, 14:39
Khartoum - A bus and truck convoy was moving about 3 500
South Sudanese back to their ancestral homeland from Sudan on Monday, a church
leader said, in the first major repatriation for months.
But the United Nations says about 40 000 other South
Sudanese are still waiting in "appalling" conditions at Khartoum-area
"They already started moving," Bishop John Kongi
said of the initial group of 2 600 people who left on Monday from Kosti, south
of Khartoum, in a convoy of 52 buses and 34 trucks loaded with their luggage.
Kongi, of the Africa Inland Church, said he expected the
remaining 900 to start their journey on Monday night after their belongings
All are headed for Wau and Aweil in South Sudan.
The church organised the repatriation which is funded by
overseas donors, Kongi said.
"These people, they went to Kosti probably two years
ago," said Kau Nak, deputy head of mission at South Sudan's embassy in Khartoum.
"They got stranded".
The church last organised a repatriation in March, Kongi
Kosti, 300km from Khartoum, had been home to the biggest
single concentration of South Sudanese needing transport to South Sudan, which
became independent in July 2011.
Many lived there in makeshift shelters or barn-like
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) last year
airlifted almost 12 000 South Sudanese from Kosti but called the operation
exceptional because local authorities there had ordered the South Sudanese to
leave after months of waiting for transport.
Funding appeals to help move other South Sudanese "have
so far gone unanswered", the UN says on the website of its Office for the
Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.