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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sudan Accuses SPLM/A of Triggering Incidents in White Nile Refugee Camp

Khartoum - Sudan is planning to split a camp housing tens of thousands of South Sudanese refugees

into three separate units after a wave of violence, a minister said Sunday.
A group of youths went on a rampage this week at the Al Waral camp in Sudan's southern White Nile state -- the country's biggest camp, which houses more than 50,000 South Sudanese refugees.
They burned down administrative buildings and looted warehouses, UN refugee agency UNHCR said.
The violence started Tuesday after reports that a refugee youth had died in police custody, the agency said in a statement on Sunday.
At least 78 people were arrested in connection with the violence, according to the Sudanese Media Centre (SMC) which is close to Sudan's powerful intelligence agencies.
Minister of State for the Interior Babikir Digna told SMC the detainees would face trial, and that his ministry was planning to divide the camp into three units.
Authorities have identified three locations for the smaller camps, he said, adding that the move would help authorities monitor the camps.
Digna said new refugees would be required to register with the authorities before being allowed into the camps.
However, he said that the situation has calmed now and that the ministry is in coordination with the UNHCR to take further precautionary measures to secure the camp, vowing that Sudan will no longer tolerate addition refugees from South Sudan
Noriko Yoshida, UNHCR's Sudan representative, appealed for calm and urged refugees at the camp to use appropriate, legal channels to express their concerns.
"Refugees, like everyone else, are subject to obey the law," she said, adding that South Sudanese refugees were "themselves victims of conflicts and violence seeking safety in Sudan".
The governor of White Nile Abdul-Hamid Musa Kasha described the incidents as "as shocking and regrettable, met with widespread Sudanese public condemnation, noting that the camp which was set up four years ago was living in peace and coexistence between South Sudanese refugees and local host communities.
Speaking to a press conference, Kasha said that South Sudan refugees are being viewed from a humanitarian angle considering complicated and dire conditions in their country of origin.
He added that Sudan has decided to accept the refugees as a member of the international system. The governor blamed South Sudan Liberation Army Commanders, who he said infiltrated the camps, for triggering the incidents.
Gen. Gurashi Saleh, Police Commissioner for White Nile State, said 78 persons involved in the incidents, including officers from SPLM/A, were arrested and that they confessed to the crime, adding that members of the police are on alert to ensure public order, peace and safety of public properties, in addition to the safety of the refugees themselves.
The Commissioner of Al-Salam Locality Hamid Ali revealed that a fact-finding committee was formed to probe the incidents and assess damages, attributing the incidents to conflicts between refugees supporting the government of South Sudan on one hand, others supporting the opposition, on the other. 
The angry refugees have reputedly burned 6000 tons of sorghum, 1500 tons of rice in addition additional damages to relief items,  a mosque and electricity generators.
About 416,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan since a brutal civil war erupted in their country in December 2013.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but has been engulfed by war since 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his rival and former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.