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Darfuri refugees in Chad reject repatriation ‘now’

September 23 - 2015 TOULOUM REFUGEE CAMP
Bredjing refugee camp in eastern Chad (file photo)
Bredjing refugee camp in eastern Chad (file photo)

The approximately 300,000 Darfuris residing in 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad reject the voluntary repatriation programme as announced by the Interior Ministry’s Sudanese Refugees’ Affairs Commission on Monday.

The head of the Touloum refugee camp told Radio Dabanga that the Darfuri refugees would love to return to their places of origin, but that the timing is not appropriate.

“The implementation of a repatriation programme requires a secure situation, based on a comprehensive peace agreement for the entire Sudan, as well as the provision of adequate services and infrastructure,” he said. “Further, the new settlers who have taken over our lands are to be evacuated and the refugees have to be compensated, individually and collectively.”

On Monday, the Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees’ Affairs, Hamad El Jezouli, announced the signing of a tripartite agreement between the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), Sudan, and Chad to repatriate 300,000 Sudanese refugees and some 8,500 Chadian refugees to their respective countries within the framework of the voluntary repatriation programme.

He explained that the areas that will accommodate the Sudanese refugees returning from Chad to Darfur “are ready and equipped with all required utilities and housing services”.

Last week Acting North Darfur Governor Adam Mohamed Hamed El Nahla told reporters that the government is cooperating with the UNHCR, the Darfur Regional Authority, and the governmental Humanitarian Affairs Commission to facilitate the return of the Darfuri refugees from eastern Chad. He said that more than 30,000 people had already returned to Um Baru and Karnoi localities.

Yet, member of parliament for Um Baru and Karnoi constituencies, Mohamed Ahmed Minawi, strongly denied the return of thousands of refugees from Chad to North Darfur. He told Radio Dabanga that some 100 refugee families arrived from Chad at El Hilaliya in Karnoi locality so far.

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