Juba (Agenzia Fides) - Two parishes in the diocese of Tombura-Yambio in South Sudan are expecting massive arrivals of South Sudanese refugees who are returning home. People seek help in the Catholic parishes “Ave Maria” and “St. Thomas”. These people fled South Sudan during the recent war to seek refuge in the neighboring Central African Republic.
Refugees and returnees arrived in RiiYubu Payam, in the western Equatoria state of Tombura County, from Bambouti. Bombouti is a small town in the Central African Republic three miles from the border with South Sudan. The city is under the control of the Seleka rebels, the rebel group that has been fighting against the Central African government for years. The Seleka often clash with another unknown armed group and the ongoing fighting has increased fear among the local population and insecurity in Bombouti, causing several people to flee to South Sudan, both South Sudanese and Central African.
The authorities of RiiYubu, in Tombura county, have confirmed the presence of Central African refugees and South Sudanese returnees in the area, who are, however, without any humanitarian support.
Most of them spend their nights in the cold and under the trees. Fr. Albert Salvans, of the Missionary Community of St. Paul the Apostle and responsible for the two parishes, faced with their dramatic needs, is distributing basic necessities collected in the parishes.
The government of South Sudan and some humanitarian organizations, such as UNHCR, have not yet released any official estimates of the number of refugees and returnees who have crossed the border into South Sudan. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 25/11/2020)