Tuesday, December 20, 2011

AFRICA : SOUTH SUDAN : 20000 REFUGESS HAVE FLED

CISA REPORT: YIDA, December 16, 2011 (CISA) -The settlement of Yida, in South Sudan is home to more than 20,000 refugees who have fled sporadic fighting in neighbouring states.
Despite the treaty, which grants predominantly Christian South Sudan Independence from the Muslim Sudan in the north, both sides continue to fight over disputed territory. Both are claiming strategic and economically valuable swaths of land for themselves.
South Sudan denies that it is actively fighting Sudan for control of these regions. However, two divisions of soldiers formerly allied with South Sudan are actively engaged in the fighting. It is unclear whether or not they are participating with support from South Sudan’s central government.
Meanwhile, Sudanese forces are well equipped and using Soviet era bombers, MiG aircraft, and long-range artillery to invade the disputed territories reports Catholic Online.
What makes the current situation particularly tragic is the plight of tens of thousands of refugees caught between the warring factions. Many of the refugees have already fled their homes in neighbouring states as conflicts raged there. Now, their new refuge has become engulfed as the conflict spills over from state to state.
The United Nations has already asked the refugees in the region to relocate, but many are reluctant to do so. They have established makeshift residences, and they have access to basic supplies in their current surroundings. However, the escalating violence puts that stability in doubt.
Many refugees are finally answering the call to leave. However, leaving the region does not guarantee their safety. For many, the journey is being made without food. At least one elderly woman is reported to have died after starving for four days. Thousands of children are reported to be malnourished. Fighting is disrupting the normal flow of food aid to the region, and whether people move or not they are being exposed to serious food shortages.
Some refugees have even reported being attacked by Sudanese aircraft while on the road. Multiple reports suggest that Sudanese aircraft are dropping bombs on civilians as they try to flee the region.
The United Nations is also reporting that thousands of people have already fled the country altogether. Some 50,000 people have fled the Border States for safety deeper in South Sudan. Approximately 33,000 people have crossed the border into Ethiopia.
It is unlikely the situation will soon improve. South Sudan denies that it is conducting a campaign to control the disputed territories while two divisions of its former Army are actively engaged in conflict. Sudanese forces are holding nothing back as they attack troops, villages, and columns of refugees in an effort to secure control of the regions they insist are theirs. There appears to be very little that anyone can do, except let the two sides fight one another until the conflict is exhausted.
Still, the humanitarian toll is great and United Nations and other aid agencies remain on hand to do all they can to help, even as it looks like that help will be needed for a very long time to come.
SOURCE: www.cisanewsafrica.com

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