AFRICA/SUDAN - Massacre in Darfur and camps ready to welcome refugees in South Sudan

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - While the fighting continues to intensify in Khartoum, the most serious situation in terms of human casualties is in the province of Darfur. In the past week, clashes have claimed more than 350 lives in the capital Geneina alone. The intensity of the aerial bombardments has forced some militant units to abandon their positions and flee the city.
Against this chaotic context, the South Sudanese government has pledged to welcome the ever-growing number of fleeing refugees.
At a press conference in Juba, Humanitarian Affairs Minister Albino Akol Atak announced that the government of the northern state of Bahr el Ghazal had allocated land to establish a new refugee camp in the state.
The new refugee camp is located in Wetwil, in the town of Aweil, and is ready to accommodate the 7,500 asylum seekers currently in Kiir-Adem. "We have sent our officials, the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) and the Refugee Commission, as well as our partners who are there, to relocate these people from Kiir-Adem, which is far from Aweil," explained Minister Atak.
According to the government official, since the conflict broke out in Sudan last April (see Fides, 17/4/2023), South Sudan has welcomed about 70,000 returnees and asylum seekers, including Sudanese, Eritreans, Ugandans and Kenyans, among others. Atak stressed that the government will not open IDP camps for South Sudanese returnees, but will instead transport them to their areas of origin.
According to official estimates, since the fighting broke out on April 15, more than 32,500 people have been registered crossing the border from Sudan into South Sudan. The actual numbers are likely to be higher, as some entered the country without registering, averaging 3,500 each day. Most are
South Sudanese returning home, Sudanese asylum seekers, Eritrean refugees, Kenyan and Somali migrants and other third-country nationals. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 17/5/2023)