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CORRECTION: Census shows South Sudan population at 8.2 million: report

(Corrects second paragraph showing Darfur population from 8.2 million to 7.5 million)

April 13, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The results of the fifth census conducted last year will show that Southern Sudan account for 20% of the population, a newspaper reported today.

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File photo showing First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan and President of the Government of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir, left, sits after holding a press conference at his home after midnight to mark the launch of a census in Sudan, in Juba, southern Sudan, Tuesday, April 22, 2008 (AP)

The Al-Sahafa independent newspaper quoting “reliable sources” said that the population of Khartoum topped 5 million; Darfur 7.5 million; South Sudan 8.2 million.

Furthermore, the number of displaced Southerners in North Sudan has been reported as 500,000.

The sources said that the South expressed reservation over the results noting that the dispute “may be resolved politically”.

Last week Sudanese census officials expressed satisfaction that the process conducted conforms to the international standards in terms of coverage and impartiality.

The census monitoring and follow up committee chairman Dr. Abdel-Bagi Al-Gailani said that monitors from over 20 countries observed the process and vouched for its integrity.

The South Sudan officials have warned that they will not accept results reflecting its populations as being less than the third of the country.

The fifth Sudan Population and Housing Census, a milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was conducted from 22nd to 30th April 2008. It was the first all inclusive census for people of southern Sudan since the country’s independence in January 1956.

This week the SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum disclosed that “discrepancies” are behind the delay in releasing the census outcome.

Amum said that “the results may be questionable and we do not know whether it would be valid ground for the upcoming general elections”.

“Probably without the census results we could rely on former statistics such as the 1956 census” he added.

The census will help decide how wealth and power are ought to be shared in Sudan.

The north-south border crosses oilfields producing some 500,000 barrels per day of crude.

But the census committee said today that there were no issues faced in the South and that no objections were raised.

(ST)