South Sudan on Tuesday confirmed receiving more than 10,000 civilians displaced by the ongoing conflict in neighboring Sudan.
South Sudan’s Interim Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Deng Dau Deng said the majority of the returnees are the country’s nationals, while others include Sudanese, Kenyans, Ugandans, Eritreans, and Somalis.
"On the situation of South Sudanese, the government is doing everything within its power to receive its citizens who are returning to the country. In the last 24 hours, nearly 10,000 arrived in Renk, including nationals of some neighbouring countries," Deng said in a statement issued in the South Sudanese capital of Juba on Monday evening.
He disclosed hundreds of other civilians have arrived in Northern and Western Bahr el Ghazal states respectively. Deng said the South Sudanese government has opened its airspace for countries evacuating their diplomats and nationals.
He said 24 Kenyan nationals who arrived from Sudan through the northern border from Paloch Airport in Upper Nile State were evacuated on Monday to Juba. This came after Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Sudanese Armed Forces (Saf) and his rival Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) reached a three-day ceasefire deal.
Deng revealed that the lull in fighting has allowed diplomatic missions to evacuate staff and nationals, adding that hundreds of Sudanese have also been given time to relocate to nearby regions. He also said South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has engaged the warring Sudanese parties to ensure that the temporary humanitarian ceasefire is held to allow foreign missions to evacuate their diplomatic staff and nationals.
Efforts are underway
Meanwhile, Somalia on Tuesday said efforts are underway to bring back some 200 nationals who are stranded in Sudan where the fighting may trigger further displacement both within and outside the country.
Somalia’s Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdirahman Nur Dinari said the country’s government is working to ensure a safe return for its citizens from Sudan. Nur lauded the Somali embassies in Sudan, South Sudan and Ethiopia for their efforts in evacuating citizens who are trapped inside Sudan following days of military clashes between Sudan Armed Forces (Saf) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary unit.
"Some 200 citizens will be evacuated from the border of Sudan and Ethiopia today," he told journalists in Mogadishu capital of Somalia. He thanked the Kenyan government which brought 19 Somalis from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, and the government of South Sudan which allowed the Somali people to come to their border and facilitate their journey. The latest move came a day after the Somali Disaster Management Agency (Sodma) launched hotlines for Somalis stranded in Sudan.
The hotlines which will run 24 hours daily, are for Somalis to report their locations to ease the evacuation process from Sudan. The move came after the rival parties agreed to the three-day ceasefire which aims to establish humanitarian corridors, allowing citizens and residents to access essential resources, healthcare, and safe zones, while also evacuating diplomatic missions.
More than 400 people have been killed and over 3,000 more injured in clashes in Sudan since the unrest started, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).