Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The relative calm recently witnessed in the region of Darfur has encouraged thousands of internally-displaced persons and refugees to embark on the journey back home, according to a PANA report here.
They are walking all the way back to their homes in Darfur, a region that has been the scene of bitter clashes since 2003 and which has yet to see a comprehensive political solution.
Since the beginning of the year, over 10,000 refugees and internally-displaced persons have returned to West Darfur state, some 40 km west of the regional capital of Genaina, near the borderline with Chad, the Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees, Dr. Mohamed Ahamed Al Aghbash, told the official Sudan news agency (SUNA).
This is the first time internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees affected by the eight-year conflict are returning to their home areas instead of moving out of their villages, which was the norm.
Earlier in the month, the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) chief Ibrahim Gambari said violence in the region had subdued by about 70 per cent, attributing it to the activities of the mission as well as the political process for a peaceful settlement in the region.
However, observers said the rapprochement and close cooperation between Khartoum and Ndjamena had contributed a lot in the calm the region is witnessing.
Al Aghbash said the return was particularly visible in the villages of Nauru, 40 km west of Genaina, and in the village of al Khaimai, 30 km away from Genaina, west Darfur state.
"We think the best solution is to find resolution for the problems facing the IDPs and the refugees, so that they would return voluntarily to their home areas. This is what the commission is doing," the commissioner was quoted by the agency as saying Tuesday.
UNAMID said IDPs and refugees number in Darfur has recently dropped from 2.8 million to 1.8 million in all three states of the region.
-0- PANA MO/BOS 28Sept2011