KAMPALA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- The UN refugee agency on Wednesday said that over 20,000 South Sudanese refugees have voluntarily returned home from Uganda following recent peace efforts in the country.
Joel Boutroue, representative of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Uganda, told reporters that over 20,000 refugees have returned home although the figures vary widely.
"There have been returnees but the figures vary widely. For example, the government of South Sudan says that over 130,000 have returned to South Sudan. What we have been able to count is around 20,000 refugees," Boutroue said.
He however noted that the recent military buildup between opposing forces is raising new concerns that more people may flee the country.
"We are getting prepared, we are looking at our own reception facilities with the Office of the Prime Minister (Uganda) to be sure we are ready in case," he said.
He said generally the number of South Sudanese fleeing to Uganda has reduced, noting that last year, only 30,000 people fled to Uganda.
"What we see for the moment is that indeed for a while there has been a steady decrease, last year we got 30,000 from South Sudan. This year it is still pretty low," he said.
Uganda hosts close to 1.2 million refugees, the highest number of refugees in the country's history. Majority of the refugees, 789,099, come from neighboring South Sudan. Enditem