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Results of Sudan’s census expected to be released by mid February

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January 22, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — The commission of the monitoring and follow-up of the fifth population census today has expected that the census results will be available in the second week of February 2008.

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An enumeratorinte rviews residents of Juba, April 22, 2008 (Reuters)

The fifth Sudan Population and Housing Census, a milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was conducted from 22 April to 6 May 2008. It was the first all inclusive census for people of southern Sudan since Sudan became independence in January 1956.

The chairman of the commission Abdel Bagui Al-Gilani declined to comment on the result of the census saying it is too early to talk about it but he reassured that his commission achieved a very professional and scientific work. He added that several visiting delegations hailed in their reports the conduct of the census operations in the Sudan.

He further said the Commission is seeking to bring two experts from Denmark and South Africa to witness to the results of the census, adding that the Commission works now in the introduction of information in Khartoum and Rumbek centers.

Enumerators of the fifth population and housing census had been facing a number of challenges across the country particularly in Southern Sudan and Darfur.

The Chairperson for the Southern Sudan Census, Statistics and Evaluation Commission, Isaiah Chol Aruai estimated that about ninety to ninety-five percent (90% to 95%) of South Sudan population has been counted. He said insecurity in the South coupled with heavy rainfalls in some states were among the obstacles to the success of the census.

Also before the census the southern Sudan government had been very reluctant to give the green light for the start of the census operations because more than two million from the semi-autonomous region living in other parts of the country.

In Darfur, the IDPs protested inside their camps rejecting the census demanding peace before counting. Also Minni Minnawi, the former rebel leader who signed Abuja agreement with Khartoum, rejected at the time this operation.

Also, the census director in West Darfur, Ms Wafaa Hassan Mansour stated the census will not be conducted in IDP camps because they protested the census inside the camps and have threatened to attack census enumerators.

She added that the Central Bureau of Statistics has decided to estimate the number of people in the camps and other "unsafe" areas based on information from humanitarian agencies working in Darfur.

However Al-Gilani asserted that his panel inspected the census operations in Darfur through a delegation sent to the war-torn region. He affirmed the report of this delegation was very positive about the conduct of the census there including in the IDPs camps.

Alier Riek McColl, the head of the census monitoring office in Juba, underscored that the fifth census is the first counting operations carried out by Southerners in the south. He also said the operations had been carried in total transparency and with the participations of international observers.

He further said that their Commission does not interfere in the results of the census and its mission is limited to control the operations and problems that encounter it. He also said they informed the Sudanese presidency about the obstacles census had faced in southern Sudan.

(ST)

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