September 10, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — A Sudanese official estimated the number of Blue Nile refugees at five thousand while the army said it had broken the siege imposed by rebels on Giessan town near the Ethiopian border.
On 9 September, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported that the fight, which started one week ago, between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and rebel group the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) continues to drive civilians out of their homes and into exile in Ethiopia.
Last Thursday the SPLM-N leader Malik Agar told reporters from Kurmuk, which is located south of Geissan and also near the border of the Republic of South Sudan, that his group controls 80% of the Blue Nile, except al-Damazin and al-Roseris located in the northern part of the state.
The Blue Nile military governor Yahia Mohamed Kheir said SAF special forces successfully broke the siege of Geissan and evacuated the wounded soldiers from the town on Friday afternoon. He further dismissed Agar’s statements saying it it is Sudan’s army who control 80% of Blue Nile.
The SAF governor further pledged that the Sudanese army will recover control of the while state very soon.
Khartoum accuses the newly independent state of South Sudan and the ruling SPLM of supporting their former comrades in North Sudan particularly in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.
The Sudanese minister of information stated that they seized documents proving that the salaries of 20,000 SPLA fighters in the Blue Nile are being paid by the Juba government. She added that the South Sudan government cannot deny this fact.
Sana Hamad al-Awad stressed that elected governor "Agar has lost his loyalty to the country and its constitution."
Speaking about the humanitarian situation the minister said the official number of people who fled the clashes to the neighbuoring Ethiopia is estimated between 3,500 to 5,000 persons. She added that the government is discussing with Addis Ababa ways to repatriate them back to Blue Nile state.
The minister further urged the political forces to support the army stressing that the government seeks a negotiated solution and respects their initiative to stop the war.
The UNHCR estimated on 9 September that some 20,000 Sudanese refugees had crossed into Ethiopia over the past week. It also said the number internally displaced people has reached 35,000 families according to the Sudanese Red Crescent Society.