Home | News    Friday 15 July 2011

South Sudan returnees continue to arrive in Lakes state

July 14, 2011 (JUBA) – The government of Lakes state is continuing to receive large numbers of returnees from Khartoum through Shambe port, as South Sudanese return to the country that became independent on July 9.

Some nine barges with returnees arrived at Shambe port on the eve of South Sudan’s independence on Saturday and the returnees are yet to be transported to a way station at Nyang in Yirol East County before their resettlement in various designated places in various counties of Lakes State.

The Yirol West County Deputy Secretary of South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) Gabriel Anok, said that the process for registering returnees started on Wednesday.

Yirol East County commissioner Bulen Bol Achinbai has offered two vehicles to facilitate the returnees’ travel to a way station in Yirol East County. He also added that the findings of the enumerators will be forwarded to SSRRC state headquarters in Rumbek for subsequent action in liaison with International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Anok appealed to the relevant authorities, including the local communities, to receive the returnees and offer them any help possible, describing them as “our people”.

The status of South Sudanese still in North Sudan and the Northerners residing in South Sudan has yet to be agreed on between Khartoum’s National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in South Sudan as part of post-secession arrangements.

The Sudanese cabinet in Khartoum last week approved changes to immigration law which would automatically strip all South Sudanese of their citizenship. All Southern employees in the government, civil service, public services and military have had their employment terminated.

Newly independent South Sudan, however, have said that Northerners may apply for citizenship. Both countries have agreed to give people nine months to apply for citizenship from July 9 when the South officially seceded.

The basis on which residency or citizenship would be granted has not been clarified.

South Sudan separated from the North after a referendum in January saw a 98 percent vote for partition. Many South Sudanese returned before the vote not trusting that their ballots would be counted correctly in the North.

After a surge of activity by the SPLM to return Southerners before the vote now many are stuck in Khartoum and other parts of North Sudan are struggling to find means to return to the South.