Long wait to escape South Sudan war

2014-01-17 14:00
Displaced South Sudanese citizens wait at a Sudanese border checkpoint in Joda, where Sudan's White Nile state meets the South's Upper Nile, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces. (Ashraf Shazly, AFP)

Displaced South Sudanese citizens wait at a Sudanese border checkpoint in Joda, where Sudan's White Nile state meets the South's Upper Nile, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces. (Ashraf Shazly, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Joda - Some walked, others were luckier and hitched a ride, but all ended up in the open at a Sudanese border checkpoint, waiting to cross and leave South Sudan's war behind.

Hundreds of crying children and exhausted adults have converged on the border post at Joda, where Sudan's White Nile state meets the South's Upper Nile, which saw heavy fighting this week.

They are among an estimated 10 000 who have fled north to Sudan in an exodus that the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says has seen almost 80 000 people seek refuge abroad from deadly fighting between government and rebel forces in South Sudan over the past month.

"I fled from my home before sunset, and spent the night in a forest," a South Sudanese woman told AFP.

Like others in Joda, the woman, who asked not to be named said she had come from Malakal, the Upper Nile state capital, about 300km southwest of the border.

"There was heavy fighting in Malakal," said the woman, aged 25.

On Monday, rebels staged an assault to seize back the city, where tank battles were reported in the streets. Both the government and the rebels have claimed to control Malakal, one of just three major cities in the south.

The woman said she caught a ride with a truck and reached Joda on Wednesday.

Registration

Others have been waiting at the border gate for longer, after arriving with not much more than some spare clothes carried in bags or wrapped in blankets.

Some pushed wheelbarrows loaded with mats and other belongings.

"We have been waiting here four days," said Samuel John, also a former Malakal resident.

He said they have neither received any aid nor been allowed to cross into Sudan.

"We are still at the border gate because the Sudanese authorities asked us for our identity documents. But we don't have any because we are fleeing the war," John said.

What the refugees want, he added, is transport "to anywhere in Sudan".

Sudanese officials told AFP that an aid convoy was expected to arrive in the Joda area on Friday, and officials were on their way to start registration of the refugees.

President Omar al-Bashir said in early January that the frontier would be opened and South Sudanese were free to enter under an agreement governing the unrestricted flow of people between the two states.

But Sudan's relief needs were already strained by pre-existing conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile state, even without an influx of refugees from the south.

UNHCR described as "nomads" the thousands who have fled north from South Sudan's violence, primarily to Sudan's Kordofan region, but says it has not had access to check numbers.

International agencies

The official SUNA news agency said Thursday that up to 3 000 southern refugees have reached White Nile and Kordofan.

"We came because we heard that President Bashir ordered authorities to open the border for us," but the gate remains shut, said another escapee from Malakal, David Jiha.

Still, they are more fortunate than some.

At least 200 South Sudanese drowned in a ferry accident on the White Nile while fleeing Malakal's violence, an army spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The same day, the United Nations said one person was killed and dozens were wounded by gunfire which fell on its Malakal compound where 20 000 people had sought safety.

"We ask the UN and international agencies to help these women and children," Jiha said at the border post in a flat landscape dotted with low trees.

Some of the displaced southerners have attached blankets to the branches, forming rough shelters where they hide from the burning sun.

Read more on:    un  |  south sudan  |  refugees  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Jesselyn
This invention makes farts smell like chocolate!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Grandiose ideas and plans can trip you up today. Keep things in context and take one step at a time....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.