September 21, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s State Minister of Interior Babiker Digna on Wednesday has said that his country is hosting more than 400,000 South Sudanese refugees.
- South Sudanese refugees arrive to Sudan’s white Nile state in January 2014 (Photo SUNA)
Digna, who spoke at a press conference on Wednesday in Khartoum, pointed to the difficulty of determining the exact number of the South Sudanese especially as the refugee influx still continues.
He said that southerners would only get subsidies if they were registered as refugees, pointing the refugee commission is committed to provide full support for the South Sudanese refugees.
In December 2013, Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir decided to treat South Sudanese refugees as citizens and refused establishing refugee camps for them, saying they can live and work all over Sudan.
However, earlier this month, Sudan decided to treat South Sudanese that fled the conflict in their country as refugees, enabling United Nations to provide assistance and raise funds for aid operations.
For her part, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative for Sudan Noriko Yoshida said they provided only 20 percent of the actual needs of the refugees, appealing for more foreign aid to help address the South Sudanese refugee crisis.
On Tuesday, Digna issued a decision banning the foreign aid groups from entering South Sudanese refugee camps in the states of East Darfur, Blue Nile and West Kordofan.
He told the pro-government Sudan Media Center (SMC) that foreign aid groups are not allowed to operate in these camps, saying assistance to South Sudanese refugees is provided by the UNHCR and the national aid groups.
On Friday, UNHCR said the number of South Sudanese refugees living in neighbouring countries has passed the one million mark.
According to the UN, as of August 31 the total number of South Sudanese in Sudan had exceeded 247 000, of which about 90 000 had arrived since January this year.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in South Sudan’s worst-ever outbreak of violence since it seceded from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011.