News

Thousands of South Sudanese Threatened With Expulsion Get Reprieve

Lisa Schlein

The International Organization for Migration reports there has been a last-minute reprieve for thousands of South Sudanese refugees threatened with imminent expulsion from Sudan.  IOM says the refugees will not be forced to leave by Saturday, following an agreement with the government of Sudan to airlift them home.  

The Sudan government has agreed to allow the International Organization for Migration to airlift thousands of South Sudanese from the capital Khartoum to Juba, the South Sudan capital.

The refugees are stranded at Kosti way station, 200 kilometers south of Khartoum.  Many have been in Kosti for months.  

In Geneva, IOM spokesman Jumbe Omari Jumbe says now that the government in Khartoum has agreed to facilitate an IOM airlift, the agency soon will start moving as many as 15,000 refugees by bus to the Sudanese capital.

“We are actually developing an operational plan," said Jumbe. "There are buses to be contracted and, of course, planes to be chartered.  Luckily, we have done the airlifting before.  The company, which is doing this, is still on standby.  So, that will not take a long time.  But, I cannot give you an exact time when exactly we will be doing this.  We will be airlifting them to Juba.  I think it is a matter of a few weeks from now.”   

Jumbe says the staff is no longer under pressure to move the thousands of refugees out of Kosti by Saturday, as demanded by the governor of Sudan’s White Nile State.  Jumbe says the local authorities are giving the agency the time it needs to organize the repatriation operation.  

The state news agency SUNA quoted the state governor as saying the presence of the refugees was a security and environmental risk.

Border clashes between Sudan and South Sudan have  raised fears the countries could slip into all out war.  This week, Sudan declared a state of emergency along the border, while the South accused Sudanese troops and militia of launching new attacks in Unity State.

Jumbe says Sudan’s government has agreed to provide emergency travel documentation and make arrangements for moving excess baggage to help the repatriation process.

“Most of these people -they are going to start their lives and they have taken everything with them-beds, chairs, a goat here, you know, a cat there," he said. "We will be taking only 20 kilos for each passenger as it is allowed normally on the flight.  So, the rest of the luggage will remain in Kosti for the government of Southern Sudan to deal with.”  

Jumbe says the IOM will transport refugees who do not intend to stay in Juba to their homes.  He says the IOM will give them a few essential supplies to get them started in their new lives and the World Food Program will provide them with food for three months.

Later, he says, the IOM will seek funding for a more extensive aid program for the South Sudanese returnees.  

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sarut
May 05, 2012 9:26 AM
UN or IOM hvae the obligation it should have been in the agreement before independent North and Southwill nver be together foreveeeeeeeer

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs