UN opens new camp in Ethiopia for Sudanese refugees


UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) -- A new camp has been opened in western Ethiopia as deadly fighting continues to displace tens of thousands of people in Sudan's Blue Nile, which lies on the border with the newly-independent nation of South Sudan, the United Nations said on Saturday.

The new camp is located in the town of Tongo, from the border areas of Kurmuk, Bamza and Almahal. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Adrian Edwards said 533 refugees have already been moved to the new camp.

The camp has a capacity for 3,000 people and has the possibility of being expanded if necessary. Over the past month more than 27,500 people have fled Blue Nile to Ethiopia and South Sudan as fierce fighting between the Sudanese army and rebels with the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) continues.

"At the beginning of the influx, the new arrivals were mainly women, children and the elderly - generally in good health. Men were staying behind to look after properties," Edwards said. "Recently, however, UNHCR staff at the border points have seen larger numbers of men arriving, and more injuries."

The government in Khartoum has been engaged since June in clashes with SPLA forces in South Kordofan too, another state in the north that is on the southern border. Both states are part of north Sudan but their population sided largely with the South during the Second Sudanese civil war between 1983 and 2005.

South Sudan became the world's newest country when it broke away from Sudan on July 9 as a culmination of a six-year peace process which began in January 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM.

More than two million people, most of them civilians who died due to starvation and drought, were killed during the 20-year civil war in Sudan. Although there were hopes that South Sudan secession would lead to peace, violence has continued in both countries.

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