Residents in Unity State reported to Radio Tamazuj that the returnees are heading back to Renk and Thuongor transit camps near the South Sudan-Sudan border and the road leading to the Unity oilfield.
The camp chairman at the UN-run Protection of Civilians site in Bentiu, John Tot Riak, confirmed that some of the returnees had left for Sudan due to the harsh conditions in the camp and state.
“I am aware of the returnees who came to us. When they got us here suffering, they said they could not add to the suffering,” he said. “Some of them have gone back and some are planning to follow those who left.”
The returnees who fled the conflict in Sudan have endured over six months without food aid in Unity State, prompting their decision to leave the Bentiu IDP camp for a country at war.
Nyakume Stephen, a resident of the Bentiu IDP camp, said that the returnees explained that death is the same everywhere.
“They (returnees) said death cannot be divided into two which is why they go back. And we know that death cannot be divided into two,” he stated. “I accommodated sixty returnees. I gave them two rooms which I built because they had no relatives in the block. They left in October. The situation forced them.”
Compounding the problem, Bentiu IDP residents have faced a food aid suspension since July by the World Food Programme (WFP) due to a lack of funding from donors.
According to Tom Ruai, many returnees have gone back to Sudan through Renk County in Upper Nile State and the Unity Oilfield road of Unity State.
“When fighting happened in Khartoum, many people returned home. Now they are being forced by hunger to all go back,” he recounted. “Some of them are dying along the way while footing. Some are using Manga to go back to Renk and Thuongor. Some have gone back to Khartoum. What is facing them is hunger.”
Most returnees in Unity State have voiced concerns about a lack of food, health facilities, clean drinking water, access to education, and a measles outbreak since arriving in the area.