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85,600 IDPs return to original villages, say North Darfur authorities

Returned families arrive at their original village of Sehjanna near Kutum in North Darfur and greet their relatives on 14 July 2011 (Photo/UNAMID Albert Gonzalez Farran)
August 31, 2018 (EL-FASHER) - Commissioner of El-Fasher locality al-Tigani Abdallah Salih said 85,600 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have returned to their original villages in Korma and El-Fasher.

Speaking at the media forum of North Darfur Ministry of Culture and Information on Thursday in El-Fasher, Salih pointed out that 80% of the returnees have cultivated their lands during the farming season.

He added more than 11,000 out of 22,000 students have returned alongside their families to their original areas from Zam Zam camp for IDPs.

Salih said 11 schools including 2 high schools have been reopened besides restoring police stations in Sarfaya, Baraka and Korma areas.

He pointed out that the collection of illicit arms and the tribal reconciliations have largely contributed to the voluntary return of IDPs to Sarfaya, Barka and Korma.

Earlier this month, Voluntary Return Commission (VRC) in Central Darfur State said 26,595 IDPs families have returned to the state as part of the voluntary return programme.

Last year, the UN Security Council decided to reduce the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), admitting the security situation has improved.

However, it decided to reinforce its presence in Jebel Marra because there is no cessation of hostilities as the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) refuses to declare it unilaterally or to engage in peace negotiations.

The Sudanese army has been fighting armed groups in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict and over 2.5 million were displaced.

(ST)