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UN figures on South Sudanese refugees in Sudan are incorrect: official

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January 12, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese refugee commissioner rejected statistics about the number of South Sudanese refugees provided by the United Nations agency for refugees (UNHCR) saying they are unreliable .

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A South Sudanese girl sleeps as people go about their daily life in Minkammen, on the outskirts of Bor, on January 8, 2014 (PhotoAFP /Nichole Sobecki)

Hamad El-Gizouli on Sunday evening was reacting to a statement by UNHCR external relations officer Nicolas Brass who estimated that at least 10,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan since the start of fighting in the neighbouring country last December.

Speaking in a TV show, El-Gizouli stated that the number of South Sudanese refuges in the country did not bypass 1,371 individuals, adding that the estimation produced by the UN "is incorrect".

Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir, following a visit to Juba last Monday said his country is open for the South Sudanese who flee the ongoing conflict in the neighbouring country, but emphasised they would not establish refugee camps for them.

Sudan refuses to establish camps for its nationals who fled the ongoing armed conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state. The IDPs are encouraged to settle in the different regions but the government encourages and supports their return once the security situation is normal, as it was the case for IDPs in North Kordofan state and some areas of the Blue Nile.

In a briefing note released on Friday 10 January, the UNHCR said the number of South Sudanese refugees who fled to the neighbouring countries has reached 43,000 people.

"As of Wednesday, 32,443 South Sudanese had arrived in Uganda, 4,754 in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp, some 6,000 in Ethiopia and at least several hundred in Sudan, with unconfirmed reports of thousands having fled there", reads the briefing.

Regarding the number of South Sudanese fleeing to Uganda, the refugees agency said between 4,000 to 5,000 people arrive there on daily basis.

The HCR further said that there are some 232,000 internally displaced persons including 65,000 sheltered at 10 UN compounds across the South Sudan.

The refugee agency said it projects additional displacement between now and April and estimated that the number of South Sudanese refugees could reach 125,000 people and the IDPs could rise to 400,000.

(ST)

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