One boy was wounded and 14 others missing in two air raids near a refugee transit centre in South Sudan.
The United Nations refugee agency today condemned the air raids against 5,000 refugees in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.
“Bombing of civilian areas must be condemned in the strongest terms.” -Mireille Girard, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in South Sudan
According to UNHCR, over 78,000 people have fled into grossly under-developed South Sudan from the north since August last year. An estimated 54,000 have sought safety in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state and in 24,000 in Unity state.
The attack took place in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, less than 10 kilometres from the border with Sudan, as UN staff tried to relocate refugees further inside South Sudan for safety.
Teams from UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were supervising the relocation exercise when the first wave of bombings took place. Refugees jumped out of their trucks and fled.
The aid workers also ran for their own safety. They were able to rapidly mobilize the refugees and the convoy of trucks left for a safer location, some 70 kilometres from the border between South Sudan and Sudan, with 1,140 individuals on board.
South Sudan has declared independence from former civil war enemies in north Sudan in July. The country has accused Khartoum of launching several bombing raids in frontier regions of its territory, claims denied by the northern army.
Fighting erupted in Sudan’s Blue Nile state in September 2011 between government forces and gunmen formerly allied to the now independent South Sudanese army.