Over the last few weeks, the communities of opposition-controlled New Fangak in Greater Jonglei have welcomed back a significant number of their own, with internally displaced persons returning to their area of origin as they have been reassured of its prevailing peace.
“Now that the security situation has improved, we are appealing to our people in the protection sites to follow in our footsteps and return home to restart their lives, just like we are doing,” said Martha Nyakoang, one of the home-comers.
Like her returning peers, a total of 21 arriving in New Fangak since mid-September, Ms. Nyakoang has been staying at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s Protection of Civilians site in Bor for years. They have made the journey by boat, on the river.
“I am so excited to be home,” said Mawich Chatiem, seeing his family again after six long years.
Their returns have been made possible by the combined efforts of the UN peacekeeping mission and humanitarian actors, many of which are members of the local network known as the Bor Solutions Working Group.
Johnson Kuol, governor of opposition-controlled Phow to which New Fangak belongs, is pleased with what he has observed. He commends the peacekeeping mission for working in accordance with its mandate, which includes facilitating the safe, dignified and voluntary return of the thousands and thousands of people having been displaced by the conflict.
“We welcome them [the returnees] and we have settled them. The people who do not have land, we give them land,” Mr. Kuol said. “We are entering a new era of peace. People are starting to move more freely and with less fear,” he added, pointing out that men and women are not only coming back to New Fangak but also travelling to Malakal and elsewhere.
Since fighting broke out in the country in December 2013, the UN peacekeeping mission has at times been sheltering more than 200,000 displaced persons in its eight different protection sites across the country.
Over the last year, since the signing of the revitalized peace agreement and with the prospect of a transitional government of national unity being formed on 12 November, that number has dropped significantly. The figure currently stands at approximately 180,000, with less than 2,000 staying at the Bor protection site.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).