"You have important safety information to pass on and we are glad that you thought we were important enough to not be discouraged by the journey, or weather, to make sure that we hear them. Thank you.”
- Samuel Odoma, Tororo resident
Since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, there has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees returning to their homelands – but this brings its own problems.
MAG's Mine Risk Education messages are often delivered to remote communities such as this village compound in Tororo, next to the Congolese border.
Spontaneous returnees in Tororo receive Mine Risk Education.
[Photos: MAG Sudan]
Returnees – there are an estimated 350,000 refugees in neighbouring countries, with another four million people internally displaced within Sudan – may have spent many years outside of the country during the conflict and are therefore often unfamiliar with landmines/unexploded ordnance (UXO), unaware of suspected dangerous areas within their newly resettled communities.
The vulnerability of this group to mine/UXO related accidents has made them a main target group for Mine Risk Education (MRE).
MAG’s Community Liaison (CL) teams ensure that returnees, arriving by convoy through various 'way stations', are provided with critical MRE messages before departing for their new settlements.
During the rainy season, when organised repatriation slows, many returnees choose to return spontaneously. MAG’s CL teams gather information about often remote villages that may be receiving a number of spontaneous returns.
During October, a MAG CL team (funded by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, US Department of State) delivered several MRE sessions throughout Tororo Boma.
Tororo consists of many scattered villages bordering Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda. Most of the community members are returning Sudanese who sought refuge in neighbouring countries during the Sudanese conflict.
Peter Alero, Tororo community member and returnee from the DRC, was present at one of MAG's MRE sessions: “We have only come to Sudan a few months ago. As you can see we live a simple life here as we did in the Congo; we never knew that such things [landmines/UXO] existed – and so close to our homes.”
Samuel Odoma, spoke on behalf of his community to emphasise their appreciation for the MRE messages and the team’s efforts in accessing their remote area:
"The route is hilly and difficult to get to. You have important safety information to pass on and we are glad that you thought we were important enough to not be discouraged by the journey, or weather, to make sure that we hear them. Thank you.”
29 October 08