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Sudanese refugees in S. Sudan’s Maban county face critical situation: SRRA

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March 29, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Blue Nile refugees are in critical situation and need the protection and support of the United Nations agencies, as they are asked to evacuate their camps in South Sudan’s Maban county, said the humanitarian arm of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N) on Saturday.

In a statement signed by its chairman Neroun Philip, the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SRRA) said the Sudanese refugees from Blue Nile state are facing a difficult choice as the host community of Maban county in Unity state, which is controlled by the South Sudanese government, asked them to leave the area.

Tensions between two communities "started early this month, as a result of accusations of livestock theft and cutting down of trees has aggravated their situation, the youth from Maban have recently demanded the refugees to be evacuated immediately but an intervention of the Maban county commissioner has secured a more realistic two month deadline," said the statement .

Philip called on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to protect the Sudanese refugees in South Sudan and also urged the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) "to intervene between the refugees, the Maban host community and the government of South Sudan to locate secure camps for the refugees".

There are 122000 Sudanese refugees residing in four refugees camps of Kaya, Yousif Batil, Doro and Gindrassa in Maban area, Upper Nile state, since the start of a rebellion in the Blue Nile in September 2011.

The humanitarian official said that Sudanese refugees cannot remain in the camps without assistance or return to their home country and face " insecurity and daily aerial bombardments from government forces where already half a million IDPs are living with little food and water and no shelter".

Sudanese government and the SPLM-N have failed to implement a tripartite humanitarian initiative aiming to deliver humanitarian assistance to the civilians affected by the nearly 3-year conflict.

The SRRA estimate that there are half a million internally displaced persons without humanitarian access in the rebel controlled areas inside the Sudan.

Since the start of the South Sudanese crisis and the emergence of a new rebellion led by the former vice-president Riek Machar last December, the Unity state suffers from insecurity and violence. The rebels hold the southern areas of the state while the government still control the northern, and eastern areas Maban and Melut.

SITUATION IN YIDA CAMP

Regarding the refugees from the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan in Yida camp near the border, the humanitarian official called on the UNHCR to not deny education to 25,000 school age children before they move to the new camp of Ajoung Thok.

He added that the UN refugee agency also refused to register and deliver ration cards to some 1,300 people who recently arrived to Yida fleeing the dry season offensive in South Kordofan, and asked them to move directly to Ajuong Thok camp.

UNHCR has since last year been moving Sudanese refugees from the crowded and insecure Yida, located near a contested section of the border between the two Sudans.

But many Sudanese refugees refused to move preferring Yida where there are some 82,000 people, saying it allows them to inspect their houses and villages whenever they can.

(ST)