Home | News    Sunday 27 November 2011

UN: Sudanese fleeing conflict to Ethiopia, South Sudan to hit 100,000

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

November 26, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) - Continued fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) forces in Blue Nile state will drive thousands more refugees to neighbouring countries, the UN refugee agency said on Friday.

According to UNHCR, since August some 76,000 Sudanese have fled to Ethiopia and South Sudan to escape ongoing hostilities in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states with the UN body estimating that the current figure will swell to 100,000 by the end of the year.

"If the trends we are seeing continue we are likely to see in the coming weeks and definitely before the end of the year up to 100,000 refugees having fled Sudan into South Sudan and into Ethiopia," said Raouf Mazou, UNHCR deputy director for East and Horn of Africa, Chad and Sudan.

The UN official said an estimated 16,000 people had crossed from Sudan’s Blue Nile state into Upper Nile in South Sudan and further 20,000 Sudanese have fled to South Sudan’s Unity state from violence in South Kordofan.

Last month, The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) opened a new camp in western Ethiopia to cope up an increasing influx of Sudanese refugees from Blue Nile.

The refugees who have fled to South Sudan from South Kordofan are currently camped in Yida – a town in Unity state which was recently bombed by the Sudanese Armed Forces. Khartoum denies the attack and says there are no Sudanese refugees in South Sudan. The US described Sudan as "blatantly lying" to the UN Security when it denied the attacks.

The UN refugee agency said the refugees in Yida will soon be relocated to a new site further south in Unity state. The agency is currently using helicopters to provide assistance to the remotely settled refugees where road access is difficult.

With more refugees arriving each day, Ethiopia is already accommodating an estimated 36,000 Sudanese refugees from Blue Nile who have crossed borders into the Horn of Africa nation since war broke out there in August.

Fighting in South Kordofan broke out in May before South Sudan’s independence, placing many soldiers who fought with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement north of the international border.

The SPLM-Northern Sector claims it has no ties with the SPLM government in Juba, claiming its arms come from what they manage to take from the SAF. Khartoum refutes this asserting that Juba continues to support their war-time allies.

Under a 2005 peace deal South Sudan’s secession was always likely, and elections and consultations were planned in South Kordofan and Blue Nile to address the grievances of the population there.

The SPLM’s Malik Agar became the governor of Blue Nile but was deposed when fighting broke out between his forces and the SAF. Since taking control of Damazine, the state capital in September, the military have also forced the SPLM-N out of their stronghold in Kurmuk.

South Kordofan’s elections were delayed for over a year and were won by incumbent governor Ahmed Harroun, a high profile member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party. The SPLM-N’s candidate Abdulaziz Al-Hilu refused to except the result and has been leading the rebellion there since fighting broke out in May.

Popular consultations in both state’s did not go ahead. The SPLM-N have since formed the National Revolution Front - a coalition with Darfuri rebel groups - and have vowed to oust the NCP from power. The SPLM-N’s main demands are for Sudan to become a federal, pluralistic and - most controversially to the Islamist NCP - a secular country.

After reneging on a deal struck in August recognising the SPLM-N as a legal political party, President Bashir has ruled out holding talks with SPLM-N at a venue outside Sudan, while the SPLM-N have stepped up their calls for regime change.

(ST)

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  • 27 November 2011 06:52, by omoni jr.

    To UN,
    Arabs are always even if they know that they have thousands of refugees in south sudan beacause they are very racists people in the world.

    repondre message

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