Air Raids Rock Refugee Transit Centre in South Sudan

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.

Young men ride a vehicle carrying the flag of South Sudan during the visit of Omar Hassan Ahmad AlBashir, President of Sudan, on the eve of the independence of South Sudan on 9 July 2011.UN Photo/Isaac Billy

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.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.