June 16, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The coordination committee for security affairs in Khartoum state on Monday has given South Sudanese refugees a 10-day time limit to evacuate a temporary camp set up for them located between al-Azozab and al-Shajara neighborhoods.
- South Sudanese refugees cook on an open fire at a camp run by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in Sudan’s White Nile state on 27 January 2014 (Photo: AFP/Ashraf Shazly)
The Sudanese government had placed hundreds of South Sudan’s citizens in that camp while it undertakes measures to deport them. There are reports that additional numbers entered the camp following the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan last year.
Last month, Khartoum locality decided to remove the camp following complaints from residents about the increasing negative practices and threats to the community’s security.
The governor of Khartoum state, Abdel-Rahman al-Khidir, announced on Sunday following consultations with the parliament speaker, al-Fatih Izz al-Din, that arrangements are underway to open camps for South Sudanese refugees 45 kilometers away from the Sudanese capital.
The security committee pointed that the decision will be carried out rigorously due to the spread of negative practices, environmental degradation and threats to community’s security.
Khartoum’s locality commissioner, Omer Nimir, told the government-sponsored Sudan Media Center (SMC) website on Monday that the decision to transfer the refugee camp was made following complaints from local residents.
He said the camp was temporarily established until refugees return to their country, noting that refugees didn’t evacuate the camp in accordance with the decision.
Nimir urged all foreigners in the locality of Khartoum to adjust their status according to the provisions of the immigration and nationality act and within the timeframe determined by the Ministry of Interior so as not to be subject to legal actions.
The violence in South Sudan has forced tens of thousands to seek shelter in United Nations camps for protection. The six-month-old conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 1.3 million.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that 79,700 South Sudanese have fled to Sudan.
But government reports in Khartoum put the number at 22,700 people, saying the newcomers join their relatives who stay in open areas in the Sudanese capital, as well other areas on the city outskirts.
Intensive discussion took place in recent weeks to transfer 6,000 refugees from the open areas in Khartoum to Jebel al-Awliya area in the far south of the capital
Last April, the UN office in Sudan disclosed an disagreement between the UNHCR and the Sudanese government on the description of the South Sudanese citizens who fled to Sudan due to the ongoing conflict in the newborn state.
Khartoum since the start of South Sudanese crisis refuses to describe them as refugees saying they will be treated as Sudanese citizens and are free to settle where they want, but at the same time it refuses to establish refugees camps near the border fearing that rebels seek refuges there.