December 26,2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese refugees in South Sudan near the border areas between the two countries are facing difficult humanitarian conditions as result of the ongoing crisis in South Sudan, said the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).
- UN staffers distribute food tokens to Sudanese refugees in the Yida camp in South Sudan in May 2012 (Photo: UNHCR)
SPLM-N secretary-general, Yasir Arman, said in a statement issued on Thursday that the workers of UN agencies and humanitarian groups left the Sudanese refugees residing camps near the border after the start of fighting between South Sudanese army and troops loyal to the former vice-president Riek Machar in different parts of the country.
"They are facing difficult choices of either staying without humanitarian assistance, especially the new arrivals among them, or going back to the war zone to join around 1 million internally displaced in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile", Arman said.
The rebel leader further called on the African Union and the United Nations to pay attention to the deteriorating situation in the refugee camps as thousands of South Sudanese sought refuge in UN bases and others fled their homes and villages following the eruption of fighting in the country.
"The situation of more than a quarter of a million of (Sudanese) refugees and around a million internally displaced in the two areas is very critical", he emphasised.
Thousands of Sudanese are now living in refugees camps in the border areas between the two countries since the start of the conflict between the Sudanese army and the SPLA-N fighters in June 2011.
The AU Peace and Security Council and UN Security Council at different times demanded Khartoum to allow humanitarian access to the civilians in the rebel controlled areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile but the Sudanese officials say such measure can be implemented after political agreement with the rebels.
Arman who also leads the rebel negotiating team reiterated the SPLM-N readiness for talks with the Sudanese government to reach a humanitarian cessation of hostilities agreement, saying it is more than ever needed to save Sudanese and South Sudanese affected civilians.
Sudanese government and SPLM-N delegations were expected to meet earlier this December but the death of the former South African leader Nelson Mandela led postpone the meeting.
However the two parties still diverge on the agenda of the talks as Khartoum proposes to negotiate only a settlement of the conflict in Blue Nile and south Kordofan while the SPLM-N demands to hold a comprehensive process on the two states and Darfur region with the participation of its allied rebel groups of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front.