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A Taste of Hope Sends Refugees Back to Darfur

       

People who fled the Darfur region of Sudan amid brutal attacks are coming back. A Darfurian in Nyuru, peacekeepers behind her.   Sven Torfinn for The New York Times

The New York Times - by Jeffrey Gettleman - February 26, 2012

NYURU, Sudan — More than 100,000 people in Darfur have left the sprawling camps where they had taken refuge for nearly a decade and headed home to their villages over the past year, the biggest return of displaced people since the war began in 2003 and a sign that one of the world’s most infamous conflicts may have decisively cooled.

The millions of civilians who fled into camps, their homes often reduced to nothing more than rings of ash by armed raiders, are among the most haunting legacies of the conflict in Darfur, transforming this rural landscape into a collection of swollen impromptu squatter towns.

And while the many thousands going home are only a small fraction of Darfur’s total displaced population, they are doing so voluntarily, United Nations officials say, offering one of the most concrete signs of hope this war-weary region has seen in years.

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