Sudan refugees at risk amid airstrikes

2012-03-27 16:20
Geneva - The UN refugee agency warned on Tuesday that the lives of over 16 000 Sudanese refugees were at risk as Khartoum bombarded South Sudan's oil-rich border areas for a second consecutive day.

"UNHCR considers that the Yida refugee settlement is not safe for long-term stay due to its proximity to the volatile border zone," said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"We consider that refugees' lives are at stake, so we do urge them to move."

The group of Sudanese refugees from the Nuba Mountains had fled across their country's borders to settle in the Yida camp, located in South Sudan's Unity state.

The UNHCR has been urging them to move amid repeated shelling in the volatile border zone since last year, but the refugees have refused, saying they prefer to remain close to their hometown.

Yida came under aerial attack last November, while in December artillery shells fell close to the camp, said the refugee agency.

On Tuesday, Sudanese aircraft launched a second consecutive day of bombardment on South Sudan's oil-rich border regions, including areas which were about 50km from Yida camp.

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