By Fred Kayizzi
THE voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees from Uganda to the Eastern Equatorial state of South Sudan has kicked off following the end in hostilities by the LRA rebels in the area.
The first batch of 133 returnees was flagged off on Tuesday by the Hoima resident district commissioner, Martha Asiimwe, at Kyangwali Refugee Resettlement Camp.
The head of the UN refugee agency in Hoima, Adan Ilmi, said: â€œWe have started returning them to Magwi and Torit counties. We intend to repatriate about 500 refugees every month.â€
He added that another batch of 150 Sudanese refugees will be repatriated next week from Kiryandongo Refugee Camp in Masindi district.
A similar number will be repatriated in a fortnight from Arua district to the Eastern Equatorial state.
Ilmi said the UN had established a reception centre at Nimule in southern Sudan to receive the returnees and assist them to resettle in their respective home districts.
A source in the UN said the refugees will undergo medical screening and be provided with food and agricultural tools.
Asiimwe urged the refugees to be Ugandaâ€™s ambassadors in their country.
She also advised them to actively participate in their countryâ€™s politics and utilise the skills they acquired in Uganda for the development of their country.