This paper aims to contribute to the emerging debate on the political dimensions of return by focusing on the sudden ‘spontaneous’ return of 11,6001 Congolese refugees who were forced back from exile in South Sudan to their home areas in Faradje, in northeast DRC. The conclusions are based on a total of 57 interviews in addition to a number of field observations and documents gathered from humanitarian agencies, and the Congolese returnee and South Sudanese refugee committees.