UN supports return of 15 South Sudanese ex-combatants living in D.R. Congo to Juba

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] - At least 15 South Sudanese ex-combatants loyal to former first vice president turned rebel Riek Machar arrived Juba last week from D. R. Congo , amid peace revitalization meetings in Addis aimed to restore stability in the young nation.

[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] - At least 15 South Sudanese ex-combatants loyal to former first vice president turned rebel Riek Machar arrived Juba last week from D. R. Congo , amid peace revitalization meetings in Addis aimed to restore stability in the young nation.

Ambassador Agnes Oswaha, Director of Haman Rights, Gender, Child and Social welfare in the ministry of Foreign Affairs received the 15 ex-combatants on behalf of the government. She thanked The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for facilitating the group to Juba.

“We are so delighted to receive our returnees that fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during the July 2016,” Said Oswaha.

She said her government will provide support needed to cater for the welfare of the ex-combatants as they wait to be integrated into the army and to encourage warring factions to lay down arms.

“It is a sign of peace that demonstrated the government’s effort to restore hope and trust among people in the country, “said Oswaha.

Sadam Paru Manyang, team leader of the returning ex-combatants, thanked the United Nation’s mission in DRC for feeding and clothing them throughout the stay in the camp.

“We are here today as citizens of this country because Juba belongs to all of us and we are ready to work for the stability and development of this nation,” Paru said.

The former fighters said throughout the spell of nearly two years stay in the Munigi camp, they were fed and clothed by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and the UN mission in the DRC.

Florence Marchal, Spokesperson for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, told TCT by email that the UN mission in DRC sponsored 15 former rebel forces by plane from Goma to Juba and handed over them to the South Sudan government.

“I can confirm that the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) transferred today by plane 15 Sudan People’s Liberation Movement opposition (SPLM-IO) elements from Goma to Juba,” Marchal said.

She revealed that the group was part of a larger group of opposition elements that have been hosted in the MONUSCO camp in the eastern part of DRC on humanitarian grounds since August 2016.

Marchal disclosed that 350 opposition elements are still in the camp whereas around 280 have already left the country, not only for South Sudan but also Kenya, United States of America, Ethiopia and Sudan.

“The United Nations Organization Mission in DR Congo will keeps on having consultations with embassies in order to identify solutions for the remaining elements,” Marchal said.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar led to fighting between mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir against Machar's Nuer ethnic group. The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital forcing Machar to flee into exile. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions that have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

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