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UN says 182 thousand South Sudanese
refugees arrived in Sudan in 2017

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- About 182,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan in 2017, according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Thursday.

“Almost 460,000 South Sudanese refugees, fleeing hunger and violence in South Sudan, have arrived in Sudan since December 2013. About 182,000 refugees arrived in 2017 so far. The majority of new arrivals are women and children,” said OCHA in its most recent report obtained by Xinhua Thursday.

It further explained that the refugee influx into Sudan’s South Darfur continues with approximately 241 South Sudanese refugees arriving in the state every day.

The UN earlier indicated that 7.5 million out of over 12.5 people in South Sudan were in need of humanitarian assistance, with more than 4.9 million people suffering from food insecurity, displacement, dispute and economic deterioration.

With the continued security issues in South Sudan and the famine which affects large areas in the new-born state, new influxes of South Sudanese refugees are expected to arrive in Sudan.

Sudan hosts the South Sudanese refugees in many camps distributed in four states including the White Nile, South Kordofan, East Darfur and Khartoum states.

In Aug. 15 last year, Sudan officially decided to treat the South Sudanese fleeing the war in their country as refugees, which opens the door for the UN to provide them with aid and fund aid programs.



UN withdraws 30 aid workers from South Sudan’s Aburoc over fighting

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said Thursday they have withdrawn 30 humanitarian aid workers in the wake of recent renewed fighting in Aburoc area of Upper Nile region.

The head of UNMISS David Shearer said that they were forced to withdraw 30 aid workers following outbreak of fighting on Wednesday which has put thousands of civilians at risk as government troops fight to dislodge rebels from the northern town.

“We are still unclear about exactly what is happening on the ground in terms of whether the fighting is ongoing or likely to carry on. What is important is for both parties to pull back, because there are a number of civilians there (Aburoc) that humanitarian organizations would have been supporting,” he said in Juba.

“I have been there and visited that area and the overwhelming number of them are women and children and older people. So, I would like the warring parties to pull back and allow those people to the safe sanctuary that they deserve and they need,” he said.

There are about 10,000 people including women and children left in the restive Aburoc area located along the Nile River banks.

In May the UNMISS forces were temporary deployed there to help with delivery of humanitarian aid following fighting between warring factions.

Meanwhile, Shearer also disclosed that South Sudan’s worsening humanitarian crisis and peace deal revival efforts by the East African bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will be discussed at the ongoing 72nd  UN General Assembly in New York.

He disclosed that the meeting will also highlight the importance of ending impunity for attacks against civilians and humanitarian aid workers, adding that the number of aid workers killed in South Sudan this year totals 18 following the recent killing of a driver working with International Committee of the Red Cross in Central Equatoria.

“We hope for solidarity of purpose between the UN, African Union and IGAD for those organizations to agree a steady commitment to reach political settlement, and support revitalization of the peace process. I anticipate that the discussion will seem to run plans for the upcoming IGAD revitalization forum in Addis Ababa,” he added.

Shearer also said that the ongoing national dialogue will also be raised in New York. The UN has already provided financial, logistical support besides bringing in a number of experts to train and advise the steering committee of the national dialogue.

“The UN sees the national dialogue as positive step in the overall pursuit of peace, as well as an opportunity to inject new life into the 2015 peace agreement. However, for the national dialogue to be successful and enable free discussion and bring parties together, the cessation of hostilities is important,” he said.


Chinese doctors provide free services in South Sudan

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- A team of Chinese doctors working in South Sudan on Thursday offered free medical services for students and staff members at the University of Juba.

The team of specialist doctors provided specialized medical services focusing on diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases to more than 100 students and staff members at the University of Juba Health Center.

The 15-member Chinese medical team from China’s Anhui Province came to South Sudan in February, and they have been providing free medical services in the country’s main referral hospital, Juba Teaching Hospital and other health centers across South Sudan.

For the past six years running, China has dispatched five medical teams with a total of 66 members who offered specialized medical care and surgeries for more than 50,000 patients across South Sudan.

Andy Yan, a translator for the Chinese medical team, said they intend to expand their operations across South Sudan in a bid to access more people, adding that the team would be conducting more outreach services.

“We want to show our responsibility and play our part to distribute the medical service to the local people and also help more people get access to services provided by the China medical team,” Andy said.

Carlo Obir, Head Medical Officer at University of Juba Health Center, said the Chinese doctors are doing excellent work in South Sudan.

“The work the Chinese doctors are doing is very excellent. We are happy for them because they are doing good job in South Sudan. If I have some cases, will invite them (Chinese doctors) to come back,” Obir said.

“I came here to check for diabetes, heart and lungs function. The Chinese doctors told me that I’m fine. So I thank them for the services offered free of charge and I urge them to expand their work,” 55-year old Yunis Gire told Xinhua after being attended to by the Chinese doctors.

Another patient Lusia Musa said the free medical services provided by the Chinese doctors spared her from spending money to visit private clinics which are costly.

“I thank the Chinese for helping us with the free medical services otherwise I would spend a lot of money if I were to go to a clinic. If they are coming back next time, they should also include testing of Malaria and cancer in their program,” Musa said.

Since gaining independence in 2011, China has contributed diplomatic and material support to South Sudan.

In February, the two countries agreed to boost cooperation in the health sector by enhancing knowledge sharing, capacity building, and hospital to hospital collaboration.

South Sudan and China have also started implementing a project for the modernization of two health facilities in the war-torn country as part of 33 million U.S. dollar medical assistance pledged by Beijing in 2013.


UN mulls night peacekeeping patrols to boost returns in South Sudan

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has recommended launching night peacekeeping patrols to residential neighbourhoods to provide additional security and boost confidence for South Sudanese returning home.

Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) David Shearer said Wednesday the proposal is being considered by South Sudan authorities.

“UNMISS and our humanitarian partners both have a role to play in the eventual return of displaced people,” Shearer said on a visit to Wau town in north-western region.

Shearer visited the neighbourhood of Lokoloko on the outskirts of Wau where some residents have returned to their houses and started growing food on a small scale.  

“UNMISS can help by providing a greater sense of security and humanitarian agencies can offer more services outside the protection camps so those people will have more incentives to leave and restart their lives at home,” he added in a statement issued after the visit.

In April, the alleged ambush and killing of a government SPLA General in Wau led to clashes in the town resulting in the deaths of around 30 civilians.

Shearer, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, said the return of displaced people to their homes in Wau could provide a “model” for other parts of the country.

“It is important that people return to their homes voluntarily and for that to happen they need to feel safe and confident about their future,” Shearer said.

The number of displaced people living in the UNMISS Protection of Civilians (POC) site has fallen from 38,000 to 32,500 over the last two months. Many of those people have returned home to cultivate their land.

“The security situation has improved in recent weeks. I am pleased to see that the local authorities, the police and National Security have worked to improve the security environment,” the UN official said.

Shearer met with the Wau Governor and security officials about cooperation with the UN, humanitarian agencies and importantly the displaced people themselves, to create the enabling conditions to assist people to leave the camps and go home.

“This collaboration could represent a new model for the return of displaced people,” he said.


Expert calls for use of diplomacy to resolve South Sudan conflict

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- A South Sudanese expert Tuesday said the United States should explore use of persuasion and diplomacy toward the war-torn country’s leaders, instead of sanctions which could scuttle ongoing peace efforts.

“Sanctions don’t have any major impact on these leaders that have been sanctioned in South Sudan. They just send sort of chilling, personal reflections to those leaders, because most of (leaders) them don’t travel, have no money in the U.S they have money here,” said Jacob Chol, professor of politics at Juba university.

He was reacting to the Sept. 6 sanctions including asset freeze and travel ban imposed by the U.S Department of the Treasury on three former and current South Sudan leaders on pretext of obstructing peace and stability in the country.

The affected individuals include the minister of information Michael Makuei, South Sudan army (SPLA) deputy chief of staff Malek Reuben and former SPLA chief of staff Paul Malong.

“Sanctions will embolden the leaders now and make them stronger. What is important besides, sanctions are persuasion and diplomacy,” said Chol, adding that most of these leaders don’t actually have credit cards.

The political science don also cautioned that the U.S. administration’s recent sanctions should have included members of the armed opposition (SPLA-in opposition) allied to former First Vice President Riek Machar.

“The U.S. should be careful on whom to sanction, if they want to be very fair they have to look on both sides of the war so that the government does not look like it is being targeted by the U.S.,” he disclosed.

Last week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Undersecretary Bak Valentino called the U.S. sanctions unjust and unfair since they excluded rebel officials.

Chol further said there is need for leadership transition to be included in the high level peace deal revitalization forum launched in July, by the East African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

“If the region does not become very neutral and honest enough to resolve conflict, it will go on forever. This State should be helped to save it from collapse,” he added.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar led to fighting that pitted mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital forcing Machar to flee into exile.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions that have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.



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