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Khartoum locality to remove camp housing South Sudanese refugees

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May 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The coordinating committee for security affairs in Khartoum has decided to remove a refugee camp located between al-Azozab and al-Shajara neighbourhoods, south of the Sudanese capital.

The decision was made following complaints from residents about the increasing negative practices and threats to the community’s security.

The Sudanese government had placed hundreds of South Sudan’s citizens in that camp in order to deport them to their country. There has been reports that additional numbers have entered the camp following the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan last year.

Fighting in South Sudan broke out in December after clashes erupted between forces loyal to president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his former deputy, Riek Machar.

The violence has forced tens of thousands to seek shelter in United Nations camps for protection. The five-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 Month, 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 considered 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.

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, demanding the Southerners 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 exposed to legal accountability.

In a related issue, Nimir revealed they will begin arresting and deporting all foreigners who are in violation of the provisions of the immigration and nationality act and illegally reside in the locality following the end of the time limit.

He stressed the move is intended to curb proliferation of crimes and the negative phenomena committed by illegal immigrants.

(ST)