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South Sudanese in the US mull going home to build a nation

Last month's historic vote on South Sudan's independence raises a tough question for those who have fled the underdeveloped region: Should they return?

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In celebration of South Sudan's historic independence vote last month, voters beat drums in both Juba – and Arlington, Mass.

For the South Sudanese diaspora in the United States, the referendum marked a moment of joy and relief – the establishment of their own homeland may finally mean they don't have to worry about the safety of friends and family.

But the vote also raises a tough question for those who have fled South Sudan: Should they return?

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"They are excited, they are ready," says Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, head of the government of South Sudan's mission to the US, which acts as an unofficial embassy. "They came to get educated, to gain skills, and to go back and participate in development," he notes.

Their support for independence is clear – 99 percent of the 8,500 voters in the US cast ballots for secession. But that support may not translate to an immediate return.


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