Khartoum, Sudan - The UN refugees Agency (UNHCR) said hundreds of Sudanese have walked for five days on foot to South Sudan, where they are now being sheltered by the agency.
In a statement sent to PANA in Khartoum on Thursday, the agency said it had, along with its humanitarian partners, started assisting 802 refugees who began arriving in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state earlier this week.
“Members of the group said they had walked for five days from villages in Blue Nile State in Sudan in order to escape shelling and aerial bombardments.” The agency said, adding that the refugees were first brought to the Doro refugee camp in South Sudan’s Maban County and are being transferred to a transit centre in Jamam, ahead of relocation to a new refugee settlement which is being constructed.
The statement said another group of 54 refugees from Sudan, who arrived last week, is also being transferred to the centre.
The agency said the individuals are believed to have arrived in South Sudan between 1-4 March from the villages of Wadeka, Goz Alraseen, Tunja, and Goz Duban in Sudan’s Blue Nile state.
They are reported to be in reasonably good health.
The statement quoted members of the group as saying they had walked through the bush in order to avoid detection by what they described as Antonov aircraft that had been bombing the area.
They said four people had died during the journey due to weakness and illness and indicated that other individuals weakened by the journey had been left behind and may have since died.
PANA recalls that the Sudanese army recently issued a statement about taking over a strategic location in the Blue Nile area, but later said it pulled out of the area for 'repositioning'.
The army also accused South Sudan of providing military and logistic assistance for rebels of the Sudan People’s liberation Army-North Sudan.