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US Embassy visits West Darfur to asses voluntary returns

August 28 - 2018 EL GENEINA
A model village built for returnees in Um Baru locality, North Darfur (2016, UNDP)
A model village built for returnees in Um Baru locality, North Darfur (2016, UNDP)

Officials of the US Embassy in Khartoum visited West Darfur on Monday to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in regard to the voluntary return of displaced people.

The team, headed by Economic and Political Affairs Officer at the embassy Robert Wong, met with Governor Hussein Yassin Hamad. Following the meeting Wong said that they aimed to identify the security and humanitarian situation and the arrangements for voluntary returnees.

Related to this, the embassy and West Darfur government members talked about the efforts of authorities to combat unexploded bombs and war remnants.

According to the official Sudan News Agency (Suna), the governor stressed the end of the war in Darfur and the shift from humanitarian aid to development aid.

In the past year the Sudanese government rolled out its campaign in Darfur to increase the numbers of displaced people who voluntarily return to their areas of origin. In addition, the government is constructing model villages for camp residents to relocate to from the overcrowded camps. Radio Dabanga receives many witness reports of displaced people and temporary farmers who decided to return but encountered armed men (sometimes with families) occupying the abandoned villages and farms.

Security situation

Last week the governor of Central Darfur announced that the security situation in the state localities that are situated in the Jebel Marra region is “stable” for the return of large numbers of voluntary returnees.

In light of the return programmes the governor said that “large numbers of people have voluntary returned to Jebel Marra”.

In the first half of 2018 fighting between the government and rebel forces in Jebel Marra led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people.

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