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UNHCR condemns bombing of refugee camp in South Sudan

Briefing notes

UNHCR condemns bombing of refugee camp in South Sudan

11 November 2011 Also available in:

UNHCR strongly condemns the bombing of a refugee site in Unity State, South Sudan yesterday (Thursday). Several bombs dropped by an aircraft in the Yida area impacted a temporary camp that shelters over 20,000 refugees who have recently fled violence in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan's Southern Kordofan State.

Two of the bombs fell within the Yida camp, including one close to the school. Fortunately there were no casualties in the camp and we are verifying the situation of surrounding communities.

UNHCR had been readying new refugee sites away from the border when the incident occurred in Yida yesterday. We had hoped to begin the relocation of refugees but our efforts have so far been hampered by heavy rains which have made the road to the camp impassable.

UNHCR is concerned by the escalating tensions in the border areas between Sudan and South Sudan where hundreds of thousands of civilians have been uprooted since June as a result of fighting.

There are also reports this week of bombing in New Guffa village of South Sudan's Upper Nile state resulting in civilian casualties. As many as 55,000 civilians originating from the Damazine and Kurmuk areas are said to be moving southwards in Sudan's Blue Nile state. Some of these people are heading to Chali within Blue Nile state. Others are crossing into New Guffa village, 9 kilometers from the border or Bunj, the capital of Maban county in South Sudan's Upper Nile state. Others may be moving into neighboring Ethiopia where more than 30,000 Sudanese have already found refuge and are being helped by UNHCR and its partners.

New arrivals who reached safety in Maban county describe completely empty villages south of Kurmuk town on the other side of the border. The new arrivals are being registered in Bunj town where UNHCR already has a way station, as well as a warehouse that currently holds enough supplies for 15,000 refugees.

UN assessment teams are planning to travel to Maban over the weekend to assess the humanitarian conditions of new arrivals. Meanwhile, local authorities have been identifying temporary reception sites as more arrivals are anticipated amid heightened tensions.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Juba, South Sudan: Mireille Girard on mobile+ 249 927 770 050
  • In Nairobi, UNHCR regional office: Vivian Tan on mobile +254 735 337 608
  • In Geneva: Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba on mobile +41 79 249 3483