South Sudan's Kiir Calls for 2.3 Million Refugees to Return Home

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir at a past press conference at the State House in Juba, South Sudan.[Reuters]

South Sudan’s president is appealing to the more than 2 million South Sudanese refugees living in neighboring countries to start returning home. Salva Kiir says his government will provide returning refugees with the necessary security.

There are more than 2.3 million South Sudanese living as refugees in nearby countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Egypt. Speaking Wednesday in Juba, Kiir said repatriating those citizens was at the top of the government’s priority list.

“For those who will opt to return to their habitual areas of residence, the government will provide security and will work jointly with partners to organize logistics around what is needed to resettle successfully in those areas,” Kiir said.

He made the comments while speaking to representatives of South Sudan’s large population of internally displaced people. Kiir said the country also intended to resettle the IDPs, though not necessarily in the areas from which they came.

“Equally, for those who cannot go back to their residence, we have spoken with authorities in the states where IDP camps are located, to set aside land and to resettle them," he said. "I must add that this land, once designated, must be allocated to IDPs and IDPs only.”