FEATURE-South Sudanese wait, fret about how to get home

Tue May 24, 2011 6:32am GMT

* Fighting in central Abyei blocks north-south route

* Civil war that ended in 2005 sent southerners north

* Southerners struggle to find jobs, want to go home

By Ulf Laessing

WAD AL-BASHIR CAMP, Sudan, May 24 (Reuters) - Southerners' furniture and belongings are piled high in this slum in Sudan's northern capital, ready to catch the next truck home before the region breaks away to form a new nation in July.

But the route is blocked. Fighting in the disputed central region of Abyei has threatened to plunge north and south back into conflict. The luggage is left baking under the searing sun.

"We have all packed up but cannot go because we heard the roads are closed," said a man in his 30s, trying to escape the scorching heat with fellow southerners under a tent next to piles of desks, bed frames and mattresses in Wad al-Bashir camp.

War brought many of the southerners to Khartoum. They sought work or refuge during two decades of conflict between north and south that ended with a peace deal in 2005. It was followed by a vote this year, when southerners voted to secede.   Continued...

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