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N. Bahr el Ghazal allocates land to S. Sudanese returnees.

By Julius N. Uma May 25, 2012 (JUBA) - A total of 900 South Sudanese returnees could

hardly hide their joy after the Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal on

Thursday announced the transfer of about 500mA of land meant to

resettle about 1,250 households in Nyalat, located about 6km west of

Aweil, the state capital. The initiative, officially launched by Paul Malong Awan is part of the

government's effort, with support from United Nations Development

Programme (UNDP) and the US Agency for International Development

(USAID) to resettle thousands of returnees who recently returned from

neighboring Sudan. "We undertook this initiative with the support of our development

partners to support our citizens who recently returned into the

country to empower them so that they can be able to live comfortable

lives," Awan told Sudan Tribune by phone from Aweil. The land allocation, he emphasized, is expected to go on as the

returnees' influx into the state continues to increase, lauding the

tremendous work done by South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation

Commission (SSRRC); the state body task with registering these

returnees on arrival. At least 15,000 South Sudanese were expected to leave Khartoum at the

start of this year, with repatriation support from the International

Organization for Migration (IOM), working in collaboration with both

the Government of Sudan and South Sudan. On arrival, Sudan Tribune had learned, the returnees have to undergo

intensive registration, courtesy of SSRRC, before they are taken to a

transit camp for a period of about three months and provided with

non-food items. In a separate interview, Ronald Ruay Deng, Northern Bahr el Ghazal's

acting minister for physical infrastructure said the state surveyed

and demarcated over 9,000 plots of land in Nyalat, which have all been

earmarked for resettlement purposes. "We rely on land information system data base supported by USAID

which has details on all these available plots, while the allocation

criteria is done through a lottery process," Deng said by phone. The size of land allocated, he said, depends on the size of each

household, adding that the process is transparent with all the members

expected to benefit from the existing public utilities and community

facilities provided by the state government. "The importance of this process is that returnees are assured of

secure land tenure since they are provided with all the necessary

documents for prove of ownership and security," the acting minister

emphasized. According to Deng, the areas allocated for resettlement of these

returnees have also been earmarked for establishment of schools,

markets and hospitals to benefit them. In a bid to enhance the resettlement programme, however, UNDP, USAID

and other development partners reportedly supported the government in

designing a land management plan, acquiring basic training and

equipment to support urban planning, and developing a land registry

database to manage the land titling process. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:May 25, 2012
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