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More than half a million people living in Sudan have been left stateless and now face an uncertain future after failing to regularise their status by the April 8 deadline. This day represented the cut-off issued by the Sudanese government for all people in the area considered to be southern to either register as a foreigner or leave Sudan.
However those seeking to register have come across a number of obstacles and confusion as reported by both the AFP and BBC. While many would like to collect the necessary papers needed to register from South Sudan, there are reports from those returning that the country has not started to issue these identity documents yet. “Many South Sudanese say they have been turned away when they approached Sudanese officials about work permits.” Those that cannot afford to fly face another issue. The land route through Southern Kordofan is dangerous and as a result 1,600 South Sudanese have not been able to make the journey. UNHCR has expressed concern over the situation. Canon Sylvester Thomas, a dean of All Saints in North Sudan said, "There are so many Southerners who would like to stay," either because they are still working in the north, are former civil servants waiting for severance pay or, like Thomas, have children in university or other schools, he said.
The areas that are now hosting displaced people from the contested Abyei region on the north-south border received aid supplies earlier in the week following by Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), Luka Biong Deng. Luka Biong Deng was visiting the area to assess the humanitarian situation. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has pleaded with Sudan and South Sudan to withdraw troops and police from the Abyei in a bid to ease the conflict.
Meanwhile negotiations between the two countries leaders continue to be adjourned and postponed. Hours after the postponement of talks planned for earlier last week South Sudan accused Sudan of launching air strikes while South Sudan claimed it shot down a Sudanese fighter jet in their territory. Sudan denies the incident.
News in detail
BBC News: Sudan says South Sudan controls largest oil field 10 April: Sudan says its largest oil field is now controlled by South Sudan's army. A Sudanese military spokesman told the BBC its forces had been defeated outside Heglig, and retreated north. Read more
AFP: Sudan-South will still hold summit - Mbeki 7 April: A summit between the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan will go ahead despite its postponement after border clashes between the neighbours, African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki said in Khartoum on Friday. Read more
Reuters: Sudan, South Sudan to hold postponed summit – AU 7 April: Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will meet his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir, to defuse tensions between the neighbours after an initial summit was postponed, an African Union mediator said on Friday. Read more
CNN: Sudan denies report that South Sudan downed its fighter jet 5 April: Sudan is denying that the South Sudanese military shot down a Sudanese fighter jet. Read more
New York Times: South Sudan says it shot down Sudan jet amid clashes 4 April: South Sudan said that it shot down a north Sudanese fighter jet in its territory on Wednesday, as the two national armies continue to clash in a dispute that international observers worry may be inching closer to war. Read more
Reuters: South Sudan accuses Sudan of new air strikes 4 April: South Sudan accused Sudan of launching air strikes in the border region on Wednesday, hours after the postponement of talks aimed at defusing the worst clashes since the South seceded. Read more
Amnesty International urges Sudan to release student activist 6 April: Amnesty International urged Sudan to release a detained member of Darfur University Students’ Association, saying he’s “at risk of torture and other ill treatment.” Haidar Mahmoud Abderrahman Manis was arrested on March 28. Read more
AFP: Southerners in Sudan face deadline confusion 9 April: Uncertainty and confusion faced an estimated half a million ethnic South Sudanese on Sunday, the deadline for them to leave Sudan or formalise their status in the country. Read more
The Independent: Sudan's split has made half a million people foreigners in their own land 09 April: Sudan's painful divorce has created more than half a million stateless orphans as a deadline passed for those the north considers southerners to leave or register as foreigners. Read more
BBC News: Dispossessed: the South Sudanese without a nationality 6 April: Fatna Khamis Bilal is one of an estimated half a million South Sudanese in Sudan who are running out of time to regularise their status by 8 April in what was once their country. Read more
Sudan Tribune: South Sudan’s Biong to visit Abyei displaced as political impasse continues 8 April: The Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), Luka Biong Deng, will on Monday undertake a field visit to areas hosting displaced people from the contested region on the north-south border to assess the humanitarian situation. Read more
AlertNet: aid reaches thousands displaced in Abyei area - South Sudan 5 April: Since clashes broke out last year in Abyei, a border area claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan, thousands of families have been forced to flee, abandoning their homes and belongings. The host communities are being provided with the aid, which should ensure adequate harvests in August this year. Read more
Reuters: UN's Ban pleads for Sudan, South Sudan to leave Abyei 4 April: U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon pleaded with Sudan and South Sudan on Wednesday to withdraw troops and police from the disputed Abyei region amid international fears that repeated border clashes between the neighbours could escalate to war. Read more