21 May, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Interior Minister, Ibrahim Ahmad Mahmoud, has revealed that their estimates on the number of Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries are vastly different from those of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Speaking at a session of the council of states in the capital Khartoum on Monday, Mahmoud said that his ministry estimates the number of Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries to be in the region of 244,000.
He pointed out, however, that their numbers are not consistent with UNHCR figures which put the number of Sudanese refugees in Chad at 244,172 while his ministry believes they are 100,000 to 120,000. He further added that UNHCR says there are 61,311 Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia while his ministry estimates them to be 32,589.
Mahmoud also said that his ministry disagrees with UNHCR estimates that there are 140,000 Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, saying that they believe there are only 46,000 refugees in the South Sudan.
UN agencies say that 80,000 out of 417,000 people displaced by fighting in Sudan’s border state of South Kordofan have fled to South Sudan.
The minister said that they don’t have accurate figures on the number of Sudanese refugees in Israel, attributing this to the lack of their diplomatic representation in the Jewish state. But he added that their number, according to UNHCR estimates, is 8,137 people.
In a related context, Mahmoud said that according to his ministry’s estimates, the number of foreign refugees in Sudan is more than 162,000 people.
The minister further told legislators that a new agreement had been made with the international community to rehabilitate refugee camps in the country at a cost of $13 million.