Last South Sudan rebels in exiles return home


The last group of South Sudanese rebels in exile in Democratic Republic of Congo left to return home or third country destinations, a rebel spokesman and the United Nations said.

A relapse into war in July 2016 between forces of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar led to rebels feeling the capital Juba. Hundreds went to the jungles of neighbouring DR Congo where they sought out protection of United Nations peacekeepers.

Last month the warring sides signed another peace deal expected to end the fighting and return a measure of order and security to Africa’s youngest nation.

A rebel spokesman and the United Nations said the exiles were over several months repatriated to South Sudan or neighbouring states including Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.

The rebels stayed in a UN camp in Congo’s Goma on the border with Rwanda
“Today the 12 last members left camp for several destinations including South Sudan,” said Florence Marchal, spokesman for the UN mission in Congo (MONUSCO).

The 12 were among 744 rebels who fled to Congo and eventually sought UN protection.

War broke out in South Sudan in 2013, triggered by a political disagreement between Kiir and Machar. A peace pact in 2015 briefly halted violence before mutual suspicions sparked renewed fighting the following year.