Refugee group attacks Khartoum’s over S. Sudanese returnees
By Julius N. Uma
May 4, 2012 (JUBA) – A US-based refugee group has condemned Sudan’s
decision to force thousands of South Sudanese out of its White Nile
state territory, as tension continues between the two neighboring
The fate of nearly 12,000 southerners remains unknown after the White
Nile state governor reportedly ordered that they must vacate the
region by 5 May, yet the Sudanese government’s own actions are
preventing returnees from completing their journey.
“This demand is completely unrealistic,” Sarnata Reynold, the program
manager for Refugee International told Sudan Tribune.
“People of southern origin are trying to go to South Sudan. But now
that Khartoum has closed its southern border, train and car traffic
between the two countries is almost impossible. And the Nile River
barges – a main means of transport – have been halted time and again
by the Sudanese government. So what exactly are these people expected
to do?” he asked.
South Sudanese living in the north became foreigners effective 9
April, after the two countries failed to reach a compromise on an
agreement that defines nationalities of both nations’ citizens
following South Sudan’s split.
Reynold, who visited Juba, the South Sudan capital last week expressed
concerns over the fate of the 12,000 southerners now trapped in
Sudan’s northern town of Kosti, unable to move further south due to
“Because of Sudan’s intransigence, these people are not getting enough
food, and they are going without shelter and basic health care,”
Reynolds noted, while describing the actions undertaken by the “height
Ali Al-Za’tari, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian
Coordinator in Sudan on Tuesday also expressed concern about the
plight of South Sudanese people stranded at the Kosti way station amid
reports that they and all international organizations working there
will have to leave Kosti by 5 May 2012.
Kosti is a major river port on the White Nile to transport people in Sudan travelling to South Sudan. They arrive through the trains or car to the capital of the White Nile state and then take the barges to Bor Malakal and Juba.
Sudan social affairs minister Amira Fadil announced yesterday the extension of the deadline fixed by the state governor from 5 to 20 May saying the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and UN will transport them to Renk in Upper Nile state, South Sudan.
Sudanese officials say they blocked the barges because the South Sudanese army used them, when they return back to Sudan, to transport troops and military equipment to the border areas.
Currently, the UN estimates that between 12,000 and 15,000 South
Sudanese at the way station in Kosti, many of whom have been waiting
with their entire house holdings for months for transport to South