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Agency Suspends Repatriation Convoys To Sudan

UN Refugee Agency Suspends Repatriation Convoys To South Sudan Due To Violence

New York, Oct 20 2006 1:00PM

The United Nations refugee agency today temporarily suspended return convoys from northern Uganda to southern Sudan following reports yesterday that unknown gunmen killed at least 38 civilians in a string of attacks in the same area.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) had been scheduled to run the 16th convoy from Moyo, in northern Uganda, to Kajo Keiji in southern Sudan Friday morning but this was abruptly put on hold.

“We will be monitoring the security situation closely before deciding when to resume the repatriation convoys,” said UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond in a press briefing in Geneva.

Since December 2005, UNHCR has voluntarily repatriated 14,000 southern Sudanese from neighbouring countries, including 4,500 from Uganda.
There are currently 350,000 southern Sudanese refugees in camps in neighbouring countries, and another 4 million internally displaced south Sudanese.

The signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government and rebels in January 2005 ended 21 years of war in the south and paved the way for the return of millions of internally displaced people and refugees in surrounding countries.

But the two decades of conflict left southern Sudan in ruins, and those who have made the choice to return home have faced real hardship. UNHCR and its partners are working to ensure their return is sustainable, including through the provision of basic services.
Despite fresh contributions from the United States and Canada for its operations in southern Sudan, UNHCR reported last month that it still faced a shortfall of more than $15 million for the last quarter of the year.

Ends

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