55,000 return to south Sudan ahead of referendum
GENEVA: Some 55,000 displaced southern Sudanese have returned to their homeland from the north in the last few weeks, ahead of a key referendum on south Sudan's independence, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday.
"With the Sudan referendum just weeks away, thousands of southerners living in the north are heading back to southern Sudan," said Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
"Their movement by road, rail, barge and plane is both organized by the South Sudan government and spontaneous.
"In the last few weeks, nearly 55,000 southern Sudanese have returned to the southern states, mainly to Unity State," added the spokesman.
Southerners are due t o vote i n a referendum on January 9 on whether t o remain united with the north or break away and form their own country. -Afp