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New refugees, economic hardship in Yida camp, South Sudan

April 11 - 2016 YIDA / NUBA MOUNTAINS
Children fetch water at Yida Refugee Camp, Maban, South Sudan's Upper Nile (Eye Radio)
Children fetch water at Yida Refugee Camp, Maban, South Sudan's Upper Nile (Eye Radio)

Sudanese refugees in Yida camp in South Sudan’s Unity state have complained about soaring prices for basic necessities. The camp reportedly witnessed an influx of newly displaced people from South Kordofan who have fled a series of attacks by Sudanese armed forces.

The rising price of the US Dollar and the number of taxes imposed on merchants in Yida have caused the soaring prices for basic goods, according to camp residents. On Sunday, several told Radio Dabanga that the significant price hike “forced the return of many refugees to the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, despite the high risks they will face there”.

Yida camp, mostly inhabited by refugees from the Nuba Mountains, is planned to close this year. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in South Sudan is requesting camp residents to move to two other South Sudanese camps and sizing down food rations and aid services.

Newly displaced

A number of people in the Nuba Mountains have fled attacks and artillery shelling by Sudanese soldiers and allied militiamen that took place in the past two weeks, the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) accused Sudan’s military forces.

“Government troops burned homes in six villages, and killed and wounded a number of residents,” Neron Philip, an official of the rebels’ humanitarian affairs office, told Radio Dabanga. “It caused significant damage to the infrastructure.” Philip did not disclose the locations of the attacks.

He reported that a large number of villagers have escaped to the mountains and have been hiding in caves, while others fled to Yida camp, which the UNHCR plans to close in June. Its registration process for the relocation of the camp residents began on the first of February. Most of the more than 70,000 residents have refused to leave, however, over security concerns in the two other refugee camps.

Over the weekend, the SPLM-N reported it inflicted heavy casualties on Sudanese forces and allied militiamen in ambushes and shelling around Kadugli, and near Heiban, Kologi, and Um Serdiba. It also reported air raids by the Air Force in Umm Dorain, east of Kadugli, on Saturday.

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