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About 243,000 South Sudanese refugees in Sudan

A refugee camp in South Sudan
A refugee camp in South Sudan.

Khartoum, Sudan | AFP |

About 243,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan, including tens of thousands in war-torn Darfur, since a civil war erupted in their country in December 2013, the UN said Thursday.

South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011 but two years later it fell into a brutal civil war that has killed tens of thousands of civilians.

Fleeing conflict and food shortages in their country, tens of thousands of South Sudanese have also sought refuge in other neighbouring countries.

“The total number of South Sudanese refugees who arrived in Sudan is about 243,000 since December 2013,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, said in its weekly bulletin.

It said as of August 16, the number of South Sudanese who arrived since the beginning of 2016 had reached about 90,000, including more than 50,000 who have taken refugee in East Darfur.

“The flow of refugees into East Darfur remains constant, with new arrivals on a daily basis,” OCHA said.

But “no new spike in the number of arrivals into Sudan has been observed since the eruption of violence in Juba on 8 July,” it said.

Hundreds of people were killed in Juba last month when fierce fighting erupted between supporters of former rebel leader Riek Machar and government troops.

South Sudan is one of the poorest countries on the planet, and it had some of the world’s worst indicators for development, health and education even before the war erupted.

The war broke out in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup and sacked him as vice president.

Machar’s sacking set off a cycle of retaliatory killings that split the poverty-stricken, landlocked country along ethnic lines.

The violence has driven more than two million people from their homes.

Machar is currently undergoing “medical treatment” in Khartoum, a Sudanese government statement said on Tuesday.

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